WOE-PETEGUI

Soccer 360 - - La Liga -

JULEN LOPETEGUI’S TIME IN CHARGE OF REAL MADRID WAS COM­PLI­CATED FROM THE VERY BE­GIN­NING, GIVEN THE NA­TURE OF HIS EXIT FROM THE SPAIN TEAM, EUAN MCTEAR WRITES.

Julen Lopetegui wasn’t doomed to fail at Real Madrid, but the man­ner of his ap­point­ment cer­tainly didn’t help him as he em­barked on the chal­lenge. Hav­ing agreed to join Los Blan­cos af­ter the World Cup, the 52-year-old was dra­mat­i­cally sacked by the Span­ish

FA on the eve of the tour­na­ment and, there­fore, took over at Real Madrid as one of the most di­vi­sive fig­ures in Span­ish football.

His first match was a very tricky one and a very im­por­tant one, as he took his new team to Es­to­nia to face Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Su­per Cup. Fol­low­ing an even 90 min­utes, which ended with Marcelo miss­ing a game-win­ning chance, Diego Sime­one’s side tri­umphed in ex­tra time for a 4-2 win.

At that point, Lopetegui was al­ready up against it and, fol­low­ing a promis­ing start to the sea­son, a 481-minute goal drought be­tween Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber saw them drop points in

Europe and in do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion, quickly warm­ing up the hot­seat. A nar­row 2-1 win at home against Vik­to­ria Plzen bought the un­der-fire Coach some more time, but the 5-1 hum­bling they suf­fered at the hands of Barcelona in El Cla­sico in Oc­to­ber spelt the end for a man who started the year dream­ing of win­ning the World Cup and who ended it hav­ing been sacked from two of the big­gest jobs in world football.

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