6

Why Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid was doomed to fail — the inside story

The two most significant things Julen Lopetegui did to get himself sacked as Real Madrid manager happened before he was even appointed by Florentino Perez.

First, he failed to listen. Second, he failed to calculate.

Those who point to his team’s 5-1 thrashing at the Camp Nou on Sunday or to the Santiago Bernabeu humiliation at the hands of Levante — take your pick of moments, matches or maudlin images of the defeated Basque — are wrong.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Lopetegui, according to the Real Madrid communique that was issued, hasn’t been sacked because of a specific result or because Perez, in his wisdom, has been vigilant around the training ground and sees deep flaws in the sessions or the ideas being taught at Valdebebas. No, it is because of the “disparity between the high-quality squad and the low-quality performances” that the former Spain manager, who gave up his chance to compete for a World Cup victory for what has turned out to be a 138-day, 14-game stint in charge of Madrid, has been kicked out.6

On Thursday, May 31, he and all of his Spain squad (except the Madrid players who’d just won the Champions League for the third straight year) gathered together at Las Rozas, about 30 minutes’ drive outside the Spanish capital, in preparation for the impending World Cup. When Zinedine Zidane’s hastily arranged news conference for lunchtime that day was broadcast live on radio and television, you can forgive the 52-year-old for not being wholly attentive.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

It would have been about then that Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, David De Gea & Co. would have just finished training and been heading for lunch in La Residencia, which is on site at Las Rozas and a five-minute walk from the changing rooms. But if Lopetegui didn’t stop to watch the live transmission of the then-Real Madrid manager, with a glum-faced Perez next to him, renouncing his position and standing down with immediate effect, then he must have read the following day’s media coverage.

This was worldwide viral news for the 24 hours that followed, as the shock set in and it became clear that the club, which had just made history with a hat trick of Champions League victories, was looking for Zizou’s successor. It’s utterly inconceivable that Lopetegui didn’t hear Zidane’s very clear message that while Denmark wasn’t on his mind just yet, there was “something rotten” in the state of Real Madrid.