Barcelona beating is final straw as Real Madrid sack Lopetegiu but Conte talks fail

October 30 – Real Madrid have sacked former Spanish national team boss Julen Lopetegui just three months into his first season in charge after last weekend’s 5-1 thrashing by Barcelona in El Classico.

Real have failed to win in La Liga since beating Espanyol on September 22, losing to Sevilla, Alaves, Levante and drawing with Atletico Madrid before Sunday’s demolition.

Champions League winners for the past three years, they are ninth in La Liga after their worst start since 2001-02.

Former player and reserve team boss Santiago Solari has been put in caretaker charge after negotiations between the club and former Chelsea, Italy and Juventus boss Antonio Conte apparently broke down on Monday.

Lopetegui was also sacked by Spain just before the World Cup in June after it emerged the Spanish football federation was unaware he was in talks to take the Real job after the tournament.

Eight of the current Real squad are on the 30-man shortlist for the 2018 Ballon d’Or and a club statement said “there is a great disproportion between the quality of the staff of Real Madrid” and “the results obtained to date”.

Real have 14 out of a possible 30 points in the league this season and have taken only one from their past five matches – their worst run since losing the final five games of 2008-09 under Juande Ramos.

Conte had been the bookies’ favourite to replace Lopetegui in recent weeks having been dismissed by Chelsea after finishing fifth last season but reportedly wanted a longer contract than Real were prepared to offer.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho – who won La Liga and the Copa del Rey during his three years at Real from 2010-13 – and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino have also been linked with the post.

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