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FIFA Club World Cup holders Real Madrid have placed former midfielder Santiago Solari in temporary charge of the Spanish giants after parting ways with coach Julen Lopetegui on Monday.

Former Argentinian international Solari steps up from his previous role as coach of the club’s reserve side, Real Madrid Castilla, with the news coming a day after the Spanish giants suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat to arch-rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou in El Clasico. The result leaves Los Merengues sitting ninth in La Liga after ten rounds.

Lopetegui, who left his role as Spain coach just days before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ after being appointed as Zinedine Zidane’s successor at Real, moves on from the Santiago Bernabeu after just 14 matches in charge.

“This decision, which was taken with the utmost responsibility, seeks to bring about a turnaround in the first-team’s fortunes at a time when all of this season’s targets are still achievable,” a club statement read.

“The board considers there to be a large disparity between the quality within the Real Madrid squad, which boasts eight nominees for the next Ballon d’Or award – an unprecedented number in the club’s history – and the team’s results to date.”

As the current title holders of the UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid will look to defend their Club World Cup crown in the UAE this December.

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