Lopetegui thankful despite ruthless Real Madrid sacking

After Real Madrid announced Julen Lopetegui's exit via a statement on Monday evening, the Basque coach responded with a gracious message.

Lopetegui thankful despite ruthless Real Madrid sacking

Julen Lopetegui expressed his appreciation to Real Madrid and the club's fans after he was sacked as head coach on Monday evening. The 52-year-old was officially dismissed following the 5-1 Clásico demolition at the hands of Barcelona on Sunday, although there were reports the decision had been made after they lost 2-1 to Levante the previous weekend.

Madrid released a statement to confirm Lopetegui's exit in which they appeared to criticise the former Spain boss for failing to make the most of a talented squad, saying "there is a great disproportion between the quality of the squad, which has eight players nominated for the Ballon d'Or, and the results obtained so far [this season]."

Julen Lopetegui pictured during his presentation in June.

Lopetegui thanks club, players and fans in farewell statement

However, Lopetegui refused to hit back at the Madrid board and instead thanked everyone associated with the club.

"After the decision taken by the Real Madrid board of directors, I want to thank the club for the opportunity they gave me," he said in a brief statement provided to EFE. "Thank you to the players for their effort and their work, as well as to each and every one of the club's employees, for their good treatment during this time. And, of course my gratitude to the fans for their backing. I send them my best wishes for the rest of the season."

Santiago Solari, the Real Madrid Castilla boss, will serve as interim coach of the first team while a long-term successor to Lopetegui is sought.

Santiago Solari pictured during his first training session with Real Madrid's first team