Will he be able to help Real get back in their position in the Spanish top flight?
Santiago Solari, who was the manager of Real Madrid’s reserve team, Castilla, was appointed as a temporary replacement, following the sacking of former Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui just 139 days after he has been put in-charge of the Spanish giants.
Real Madrid fell off the top rankings in the La Liga after trailing behind in four of their last five matches, concluding in a humiliating 5-1 thrashing against FC Barcelona in last weekend’s El Clasico.
However, there are rules in the Spanish top flight that states Solari can only work as an interim manager for two weeks, so the club would have to decide immediately whether to appoint him on a permanent basis or continue their search for a new boss. So far, the club gave no indication if they would employ him permanently.
There are tons of speculations saying Solari can’t compare with Zinedine Zidane, Real’s head coach that brought them nine major trophies in three years including three uninterrupted Champions League titles. It’s hard being compared to Zidane, who was regarded as an undeniable legend, and an unparalleled icon that is remembered as one of the greatest players in Real Madrid’s history. However, these two managers actually share a few similarities, unfortunately, these resemblances can only go so far.
Just like Zidane, Santiago Solari is also a former Real Madrid player who started out their coaching career in the youth academy of Real and was promoted as the first-team coach during a mid-season predicament. He spent a season at Atletico Madrid before transferring to Real where he also played alongside Zidane.
During his time at the Bernabeu, he was able to secure two La Liga titles, in the 2000-1 and 2002-03 seasons, along with a Champions League title in 2002 during which the Argentinian started the move that resulted in Zidane netting one of his finest goals, the famous volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final.
After making more than a hundred appearances for Real Madrid, he later transferred to Serie A side Inter Milan where he won the title victory in three consecutive seasons before eventually retiring.
The question is, does Santiago Solari know what it takes to pull back Real Madrid back to the top even without the club’s best player Cristiano Ronaldo?
Spanish media refer to Solari as a coach with a powerful eye for detail and very respectful to the system and values he wants to instill to the team. It’s only a matter of time, and a few matches, to see if he has what it takes to bring the success back to Real Madrid.
The Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was actually thought to be Real’s first choice but it would be impossible to pry him from Tottenham in the middle of the season. However, Real stated that they are willing to wait until next summer to secure Pochettino.
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