MADRID, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Italian Antonio Conte will not replace Julen Lopetegui if he is sacked as Real Madrid manager, Spanish media reported on Monday. Following Sunday’s 5-1 Clasico humbling by arch-rivals Barcelona, Real look set to fire Lopetegui after four months in charge and there was speculation they would turn to Conte.
Although Real are still expected to sack Lopetegui, who took training on Monday, Spanish media reported that negotiations have stalled with Conte, citing the dressing-room’s reluctance to accept the Italian as the main reason.
Conte is famed for his direct management style and eyebrows were raised on Sunday when Real captain Sergio Ramos suggested after the Barcelona game that the players would not welcome him.
“Respect is earned, not imposed,” Ramos told reporters who quizzed him on the potential arrival of the former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea manager. Reports said Santiago Solari, the former Real player and current reserve team manager, will be put in temporary charge of the first team by president Florentino Perez and will sit in the dugout for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash with Melilla.
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli, editing by Ed Osmond)