Solari: Real Madrid coach faces D-Day
Having delayed a decision on Santiago Solari's future until after the weekend, Florentino Pérez could still sack him today despite the win in Valladolid.
For Santiago Solari, today is D-Day as he awaits club president Florentino Pérez's decision over his future as Real Madrid head coach. In the wake of last week's Champions League elimination at the hands of Ajax, Pérez appeared set on sacking Solari and bringing José Mourinho back to the Bernabéu right away, but in the end chose to hold fire until after Sunday's LaLiga clash against Real Valladolid: either to mull over his next move a little further, or because he needed more time to seal a deal for the Argentine's replacement. Or possibly a bit of both.
Solari may still be sacked as Real Madrid coach today
After a terrible first-half display at the José Zorrilla, Madrid improved after the break to finally come away with a 4-1 victory, courtesy of a Karim Benzema brace sandwiched between goals by Raphael Varane and Luka Modric. It was a welcome return to winning ways, but this remains a season in which Champions League qualification and second place - currently occupied by Atlético Madrid, who are five points ahead of Los Blancos - are now the only targets within reach. Despite the result, the feeling is that Pérez could still pull the trigger on Solari today.
There are reasons to support Solari keeping his job until the summer, though. Madrid may have collapsed in recent weeks, but they had previously achieved a level of performance and consistency which, with an eminently manageable run of fixtures now coming up, they could well reproduce. Furthermore, major dressing-room figures such as Nacho and Benzema have made it clear they want the coach to stay on. There is an argument that, with their top-four place at least secure - unless they endure a spectacular meltdown - it is better to stick with what they have until the end of the campaign, then start afresh in June.
But there are also reasons why Pérez feels a change is needed as soon as possible. Firstly, appointing a new coach now would allow him to familiarise himself with Madrid's playing personnel and decide who stays and who goes ahead of an expected close-season overhaul. In addition, there are issues between Solari and members of his squad - such as Isco and Marcelo - that have impacted negatively on the team and his own standing within the club. And amid all of that, there was his despondent demeanour in Valladolid: he had the look of a man who knows full well that, barring a miracle, his tenure as Madrid boss is approaching the end.
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