Most of the global press has written Julen Lopetegui off as a dead man walking, and rumors have been incessant on who could potentially replace the former Spanish national team coach. Santiago Solari and Jose Maria Guti have been two names reported—both “from the home” options. The other name mounting the biggest challenge is, Antonio Conte. The three-time Seria A winner, two-time Italian cup winner, Premier League winner, FA Cup winner, and Champions League finalist coach, certainly has the credentials to manage Madrid, but his man-management style and more defensive playing style have many hesitant to fully endorse him.
Italian newspaper,Il Corriere Dello Sport, reported that Florentino and Madrid had already called Conte to gauge his appetite for taking on the Madrid role should Lopetegui fail to impress against Levante, Viktoria lzen and El Clasico against Barcelona.
I’m told, btw, that that phone call to Conte was very real.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) October 20, 2018
Sources from both the Italian media and those close to the club have inferred there was indeed a call. Despite the reports, Antonio Conte’s brother and agent, Daniele, has look to pour cold water on the rumors, “We have not received any call from Real Madrid” he told Cadena SER. Daniele went on to say that, “Antonio is on vacation”, and closed his comments with a honest statement, “Real Madrid is an extraordinary team” thus leaving the door open for any opportunities. Sunday’s match may very well tip the balance on Lopetegui and Conte’s fate—a good result may prolong the inevitable and a bad one may see Conte or another manager walking through Valdebebas on Monday morning.