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Real Madrid sack Lopetegui, but Conte may not be replacing him

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Antonio Conte no longer the front-runner for the job in Spain

Real Madrid have officially sacked Julen Lopetegui today, as it has been expected for some time, but especially after the 5-1 drubbing they received from Barcelona in the weekend’s El Clasico.

Lopetegui lasted just 14 games after his controversial appointment in the summer.

Former Real Madrid player and B-team head coach Zinedine Zidane Santiago Solari has been named interim manager. It’s unclear how long they expect him to stay in the job. Considering the lack of big name free agent managers on the market at the moment, Solari could be there through the end of the season at least.

For much of the past couple weeks, recently sacked Chelsea boss Antonio Conte looked set to be taking over, but most reports today agree that he is “no longer a candidate”. It would appear that player power (led by the likes of Sergio Ramos and Marcelo) has won out.

Other than reservations from the same players who reportedly had reservations about Conte in the summer, a few reports point to some specific playing style demands from Conte as being the sticking point, while reports in Italy claim that it’s Conte himself who’s having reservations about the move. Yet other reports, such as this one from Goal, point to Conte’s murky legal situation with regards to his Chelsea separation, where the two sides are still haggling over millions of pounds due in severance payments.

Either way, Conte’s not looking likely at the moment to succeed Julen Lopetegui.