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Conte on standby for Real Madrid job for past month — report

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Julen Lopetegui somehow remains in charge still

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The crisis at Real Madrid persists — along with the heartwarming schadenfreude of Thibaut Courtois having a terrible time at his “dream club” — and Julen Lopetegui’s days are surely numbered. He’s now lost three league matches in a row after the weekend’s shock 2-1 defeat at home to Levante, and has gone an unthinkable five in a row without winning (four losses) in all competitions, scoring just one goal in the process. Real’s last win was over a month ago, and their next La Liga match is the latest Classico against Barcelona next weekend.

Lopetegui is likely to be given until that match at the Camp Nou, but his situation seems untenable. Unfortunately for them — and Eden Hazard, if he has any designs still to go there — their only real option for a quality replacement seems to be Antonio Conte.

According to El País journalist Diego Torres — ed.note: the man famous in Chelsea circles for his anti-Mourinho exclusives at Real (increasingly believable, now that we are looking in from the outside of Mourinho Reality Distortion Field) — Real Madrid have had Antonio Conte on standby since the 3-0 loss to Sevilla last month. Since Conte hasn’t had any other concrete offers yet, Real don’t have to hurry their decision in this regard, but they apparently made sure to insist that Conte let them know if he ever gets a call from some other team.

So, it’s basically only a matter of time. It’s tough to see Lopetegui staying in the job, even if somehow he’s able to beat Barcelona (even without Messi, who fractured his right arm this weekend in their 4-2 rout of Sevilla). Conte will not stay jobless forever, but having him land outside the Premier League is probably the preferable outcome.