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Lopetegui sacked as Real Madrid coach

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MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid sacked coach Julen Lopetegui three months into his first season in charge after the Spanish giants were beaten by arch rivals Barcelona over the weekend, the European champions said on Monday.

Real have failed to win in La Liga since beating Espanyol on Sept. 22, losing to Sevilla, Alaves, Levante and drawing with Atletico Madrid before Sunday’s 5-1 thrashing by Barcelona.

Former player and reserve team boss Santiago Solari has been put in caretaker charge.

“The Real Madrid board met today and decided to renounce coach Julen Lopetegui’s contract with the club,” the club said in a statement.

“The board feels there has been a disproportionate difference between the squad Real Madrid possesses… and the results obtained until now.”

He was also fired by the Spanish Football Federation as coach of the national team the day before the 2018 World Cup. The 52-year-old replaced Zinedine Zidane as Real coach in May.

After the club’s all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo also departed for Juventus in July, Lopetegui’s stint at Real got off to a difficult start as they were beaten 4-2 by city rivals Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.

His side then won four of their opening five La Liga games and a 3-0 win over AS Roma in their Champions League opener.

But things started to fall apart when they were thrashed 3-0 by Sevilla last month, a result that started a run of four defeats in five matches in all competitions. During that stint, they also failed to score a goal for eight hours.

Sunday’s 5-1 hammering proved to be the final straw for Real president Florentino Perez.

In 10 La Liga games in charge, Lopetegui won four, drew two and lost four.

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