Real Madrid round-up: Conte, Varane, Vinicius, Gento, El Clásico
In today's roundup: Conte recieves call from Madrid; Varane, Courtois and Asensio among under-achievers; Vinicius scores screamer; Gento turns 85; first Clásico without Ronaldo and Messi since 2007.
Real Madrid have contacted Antonio Conte
Real Madrid’s current woes have naturally prompted talks of a replacement for under-pressure Julen Lopetegui. And according to what AS has learned, the club were in contact with the agent of Antonio Conte on Saturday following the embarrassing defeat to Levante at the Bernabéu.
Conte was one of the names linked to Zinedine Zidane's job after the Frenchman left in May, and now the club have made contact with him again to know of his availability should Lopetegui be shortly relieved of his post. Other possible candidates that have been bandied about are Santiago Solari, current coach of Real Madrid Castilla, and Raul and Guti, who are currently involved in the underage coaching setup.
Varane, Courtois and Asensio well below par
While Lopetegui will naturally take the blame for Madrid’s problems, fingers will also be pointed at the players. And amongst the long list of underachievers are Varane, Courtois and Asensio.
After winning the World Cup with France, Varane’s performance for Madrid this season has been well below what is expected, and he has committed a string of grave defensive errors for a player of his level. Asensio started the season well, setting up three goals and scoring one, but in the last few weeks has switched off. Three assists and one goal over 12 games are disappointing statistics for the Mallorca man. The World Cup’s best keeper, Courtois, meanwhile, has let in 8 goals in seven games, and has only managed two clean sheets.
But a recent AS survey found that 86.42% of those who participated felt that the club president, Florentino Perez, is the root of the current problem at the club.
Vinicius scores a beauty for Castilla
After being left out of the squad by Lopetegui for the Levante game on Saturday, Vinicius travelled alone by plane to Vigo for Castilla’s clash with Celta B, while the rest of the team took the bus. And after the short flight north, the young Brazilian, who was perhaps feeling a bit fresher for the occasion than his team-mates that had to slog the coach ride, scored a cracking free kick in the 83rd minute to give Castilla a 1-1 draw.
All time great turns 85
Paco Gento, honorary president of Real Madrid and the only player to have won six European Cups, celebrated his 85th birthday yesterday. During his 18 seasons at Madrid, he won 12 league titles, played 601 games and scored 182 goals.
First Clásico without Ronaldo and Messi since 2007
With Ronaldo now in Italy and Messi out injured after picking up an injury at the weekend, this weekend's El Clásico clash will be the first to feature neither of the two greatest footballers of the modern era since 2007. Madrid won that game on December 23, 2007 at the Camp Nou thanks to a lone goal from Baptista in the 35th minute, although Barcelona went on to finish that season as title-winners.
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