MADRID: Real Madrid’s improved results under stand-in coach Santiago Solari has earned him the succession to luckless Julen Lopetegui on a permanent basis.
The 42-year-old Argentinian, who had been coaching the youth teams, had led the world and European champions to four wins in four games since replacing sacked Lopetegui two weeks ago.
How the Spanish federation has approved his full-time appointment in special circumstances since Spanish rules bar an interim coach from staying in charge for longer than 15 days, a period that has just expired.
Victories over Melilla in the Copa del Rey, Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League, and Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo in La Liga, have prpvided Solari with the best start of any manager in the club’s history.
Madrid also have a rewarding history with ‘home’ appointment dating back to Miguel Munoz, regular caretaker Luis Molowny, Vicente del Bosque and then Zinedine Zidane who resigned at the end of last season.
Lopetegui was sacked after a run of form that saw Madrid sink to ninth in the table. However, after Sunday’s 4-2 win at Celta, the capital club are sixth, four points behind leaders Barcelona.
Solari, who played for Madrid between 2000 and 2005 in the Galacticos era alongside Zidane, led Real Madrid’s reserve team from 2016 until replacing Lopetegui last month after a painful 5-1 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona.