Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui is a dead man walking, and he’s likely to be sacked sooner rather than later, possibly as early as today if his team’s woes continue — they face lowly Viktoria Plzeñ in the Champions League; imagine if they fail to win for the sixth match running in all competitions! And even if Lopetegui makes it past today, he has a trip to the Camp Nou looming on Saturday to face (a Messi-less) Barcelona. Either way, he’s a goner.
To replace Lopetegui, Real are likely to turn to either reserves coach Santiago Solari, or unemployed Antonio Conte. They appear to be hoping to drag out this process as long as they can, but if results don’t improve, they’d have to make a move. Trouble for Conte is that he’s still tied up with legal proceedings against Chelsea after we sacked him without proper compensation.
But in a report that piggybacks on reports from Spain, Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness) claim that after a three-month standoff, Conte’s lawyers have “finally” extended an olive branch of sorts to Chelsea to try to find an “agreement that would suit everybody”. A legal settlement for something in-between €10m (due per the contract) and £0 (actually paid) was always going to be the likely outcome, but the timing of the wheels starting to turn is perhaps not entirely coincidental.
After all, Real Madrid have plenty of other, more immediate, problems to deal with, too, beyond just worrying about their prospective new head coach’s legal issues.