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Real to bring Conte in place of Lopetegui

Julen Lopetegui

Bengaluru, October 27: Underfire Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui is likely to be sacked and replaced by former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, if reports in Spanish media are to be believed.

With just one win from the last six games, the Spaniard has come under increasing pressure to hold on to his job and his position became more vulnerable after Real's 1-5 thrashing at the hands of archrivals Barcelona in La Liga's first El Clasico of the 2018-19 season last Sunday.

According to reports in Spanish press, Real are likely to ink a two-year deal with Conte, who has been out of job since his acrimonious ouster from Stamford Bridge at the end of the last season.

Conte is currently on a holiday in Egypt, but the deal is expected to be announced ny Monday (October 29) itself.

The Italian has to settle his dispute with Chelsea first as he was fired before his contract ended.

At Chelsea, Conte guided the Blues to a Premier League title and an FA Cup triumph. Prior to his initial successes in that role, Conte, who has also coached the Italian national side had taken Juventus to three Serie A titles.

Real next plays Melilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday (October 31) and there are already reports that assistant coach Santiago Solari may take over the reins on an interim basis for that match.

Even before the El Clasico, Lopetegui was tight-lipped about his future at Santiano Bernabeu. When asked ahead of the El Clasico whether his job is safe after Real endured one of its worst starts to its La Liga campaign, he had replied, "It is not for me to answer.

"What I know is that we are thinking about and preparing for the game. "It is very important and we will go there with ambition."

Following the El Clasico rout, Real are now languishing ninth in the table and the grapevine is that club president Florentino Perez has lost his faith in Lopetegui, who was a surprise signing to replace Zinedine Zidane, who had left in June after helping the Spanish giants accomplish a rare hat-trick of UEFA Champions League triumphs.

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    Story first published: Monday, October 29, 2018, 12:36 [IST]
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