A head coach whose days are numbered, a president who is is looking (and failing) to find a replacement, a captain who lashes out at a youth player during training and a fan-base who are wondering how many talented players could be acquired with 600 million euro...this is how Real Madrid go into tonight's Champions League game against Viktoria Plzen, a game that will do little in redirecting attention from the ongoing Madrid crisis. Player maker Isco was on pre-match media duty and was resolute in his defense of the Basque coach: “If they get rid of Lopetegui, then they need to get rid of the rest of us”. This is how a player should defend his trainer, not like the nonsense that Marcelo spouted on Saturday.
Is there anything that can save Lopetegui at this point? Three points tonight? A positive result and performance against Barcelona (in a game that will have no Leo Messi and no Cristiano for that matter) ... and then what? The harsh reality of Lopetegui's arrival as first team coach was that he was drafted in after the club failed to secure Pochettino, Allegri, Klopp, Conte and Nagelsmann. In the end and with time running out, Florentino opted for Lopetegui and didn't seemed to be perturbed about the fall-out the acquisition cased the Spanish national team ahead of a World Cup campaign. It has to stated the Basque coach was far from his number one choice and this is something that would have been picked up by the squad inevitably creating a difficult working environment.
At this point, it's complicated that a talented (albeit waning) squad put up with matters for too long. Letting Cristiano leave and failing to substitute the striker with one or even two top class forwards was short sighted. It was felt, and certainly cited at the club that the sometimes erratic Benzema or injury prone Gareth Bale would step up and fill the Portuguese striker's boots. Florentino is also hell-bent on remodelling the Bernabéu and that involved the president appealing to the "socios" recently to agree on the club taking a 600 million loan to facilitate re-building work with many fans lamenting that this lump sum won't be invested in reinforcing the existing squad. It looks like the latest chapter in the Real Madrid adventure is about to come to a close for Julen Lopetegui whose inability to deliver success in a short space of time will end up in his dismissal just over 100 days after accepting the position.