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Transfer Rater: Malcom to Arsenal, Mata to Juve

Football Whispers
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Julen Lopetegui faces barrage of criticism after Real Madrid humiliation in El Clasico

The FC panel look at the big picture when it comes to Julen Lopetegui's Real Madrid future and discuss who might replace him should he get sacked.
The FC crew delve into the factors that led to Real Madrid's defeat against Barcelona, finding blame in both the players and the coach.

The Spanish media reaction to Real Madrid's 5-1 thrashing at Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday was predictably angry, with most outlets and pundits in the capital taking for granted that Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui had already been sacked while also sharing the blame all the way to the top at the Bernabeu.

"Julen is not the only guilty party," Marca's front page read on Monday morning.

"Lopetegui's awful spell in charge ends with a humiliating manita against a Barca without Messi. Antonio Conte is the 'fireman' called to put manners on the players and get the most out of Florentino [Perez]'s erratic squad planning."

AS was already reporting that Conte, the former Chelsea, Italy and Juventus manager, is expected to replace Lopetegui on the bench.

"A lethal hammering," its headline read. "Madrid is now ninth and seven points behind Barca." And, "Florentino readies the change of coach. Today, he will try to pay up Lopetegui to sign up Conte."

El Mundo's match report began with details explaining the frustration around Madrid.

"On the fourth level of the Camp Nou, by the press box, Antolin Gonzalo, Julen Lopetegui's chief analyst, was headbutting [literally] the keyboard of his computer within minutes of the Clasico starting," it read.

"He saw clearly how Real Madrid were falling apart on the pitch, without claws in attack and without order in defence. Then Jordi Alba appeared to open up both the penalty area and the scoreboard, assisting Coutinho. The Madrid coach's assistant knew what a defeat like this, so sad, would mean for a team without spirit and without faith."

El Confidencial's Gonzalo Cabeza squarely blamed Lopetegui for the miserable performance.

"Lopetegui achieved the impossible, that his excuses [in the postgame news conference] sounded even worse than [his team's] ridiculous performance on the pitch," Cabeza wrote. "The coach spoke again about a lack of fortune when his team were only really up to the level of the game for one 15-minute spell. He is not the only one to blame, but his sacking is not unjust."

In Barcelona, the response was understandably different, with Mundo Deportivo's front page also riffing on the historic five-goal thrashing. "Lethal Manita," blared the headline. "Suarez, with a hat trick, takes the Messi role and shreds Madrid, who are ninth, seven points behind Barca, and out of Europe."

"To the street! Another historic manita for Barcelona provokes Lopetegui's sacking," read Sport's front page, noting: "Florentino finalises the signing of Conte."

"Barca without Messi is a much better team than Madrid with Lopetegui," wrote Ramon Besa for El Pais. "The Basque coach surely only has minutes left in charge of Los Blancos, while [Messi] will return to crown this excellent choral work of [Ernesto] Valverde. El Clasico was for the Blaugrana, with and without the ball, individually and collectively far superior to an unfortunate and soulless Madrid. No player expressed this difference better than Luis Suarez, more ambitious, audacious, intense and effective than anyone, his hat trick leading a team that now lead La Liga."

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