Real Madrid edge closer to Conte appointment


Real Madrid are set to announce Antonio Conte as their new boss in the coming days, in the wake of their 5-1 La Liga thrashing away at Barcelona last weekend.

That defeat at the Camp Nou is likely to be the death knell for Julen Lopetegui as manager of the 2017-18 Champions League winners, with his departure in the offing.

Club President Florentino Perez, famous for his ruthlessness and lack of patience with managers, is set to confirm Lopetegui’s departure before the end of the week.

Conte,who left Chelsea at the end of last season,after winning a Premier League and FA Cup title in England, has been earmarked as the man for the job in Madrid.

Real conceded five goals in El Clasico for the first time since 1994, and former Spain manager Lopetegui was heavily criticised both by supporters and the Spanish media.

The writing appears to be on the wall for him, and he could be gone by the time they face Real Valladolid this weekend.

The club are unlikely to make a move before their Copa del Rey clash against Melilla, in what could be his last game.

After controversially revealing their decision to hire Lopetegui, as the replacement for Zinedine Zidane, ahead of the World Cup, Real proved their desire to get their man.

Lopetegui’s unveiling as Real boss was agreed to be announced after he had fulfilled his role as manager of the national team in Russia, however the story was leaked, and the Spanish FA took the bold step to sack Lopetegui.

Real appeared unconcerned by the circus they created, with their aim of getting Lopetegui the primary objective.

Despite losing to city rivals Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup, they won four of their first five La Liga games of the season, and life looked to be moving in the right direction under Lopetegui.

However their form has nosedived, creating a club record of four and a half games with no goals scored, in recent weeks, and they have picked up just one point in their last five La Liga games.

The major criticism aimed at Lopetegui is his reluctance to replace Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, following his exit to Juventus.

Lopetegui preferred to stick with the players already in his squad, praising the talents of Gareth Bale, Isco and Marco Asensio in the opening weeks of the season.

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