Florentino Perez leaked Julen Lopetegui successor to close confidants

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REAL MADRID president Florentino Perez reportedly leaked the name of Julen Lopetegui’s planned successor to close confidants before the 5-1 defeat to Barcelona on Sunday.

Real Madrid president Perez is on the hunt for a permanent successor to Lopetegui, having placed former Los Blancos winger Santiago Solari in interim charge.

Lopetegui was axed on Monday, just four months after taking over from Zinedine Zidane and throwing Spain’s World Cup preparations into turmoil at the same time.

Real Madrid have been linked with various bosses to fill the void left behind by Lopetegui’s exit.

Jose Mourinho, still at Manchester United, is admired by Perez. And Mauricio Pochettino, who has hinted at his unhappiness at Tottenham, is another candidate.

Yet the Daily Record say Perez named the next Real Madrid boss to close friends before their 5-1 battering from Barcelona.

And Antonio Conte was supposedly the man he mentioned.

It is claimed that, before Real sunk in the chastening experience at the Nou Camp, Perez told friends that Conte would be taking over.

An agreement with the Italian, who has been out of work since leaving Chelsea in the summer, was reportedly reached.

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However, in a stunning twist, Perez has now reportedly back-tracked.

And that is all because of Sergio Ramos.

The Real captain is the club’s most influential player, and he fired Perez a warning about installing a strict disciplinarian.

“I’ve always said respect is earned, it is not imposed,” Ramos said.

“We have won everything with managers that you know.

“And in the end the management of the dressing room is more important than the technical knowledge of a manager.”

Meanwhile, Solari has urged Real to show character in their Copa del Rey clash with Melilla on Wednesday.

“The players are a bit hurt but really want to turn things around,” the ex-Real winger said at a news conference.

“This is a team of champions, of warriors, players who have given a lot of things to this club.

“Certain moments are more difficult and that’s when you see the character of these players.”

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