If you had taken the short odds on Real Madrid appointing a new head coach before Chelsea, even though they were completely blindsided by Zidane’s resignation and Chelsea had supposedly been planning to eschew Conte for at least six months if not more, then it’s time to collect your meager winnings.
On Tuesday, less than two weeks after Zidane’s shock resignation, Real have appointed Spain national team manager Julen Lopetegui to the post. The former Real Madrid B coach and youth player thus returns to the Spanish capital after a brief two-year spell in charge of the national team, though like Conte two years ago with Chelsea, will only begin work at the club after the tournament is over.
And that’s how business is done.
What this also means is that neither Antonio Conte, who supposedly was approached but rejected the opportunity, nor Maurizio Sarri, who was briefly linked after Mauricio Pochettino’s name was crossed out, will be upgrading their station. In stark contrast to Real’s dealings, their futures (and Chelsea’s) remain unknown and uncertain. For now, Conte technically remains in charge at Stamford Bridge as we wait to see if any of these Sarri rumors actually become reality before the season starts or Earth gets harvested as fuel for a massive planet-buster cannon by an advanced alien species, whichever might come first.