Lopetegui’s fate at Real Madrid was likely sealed before heavy Clasico defeat

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By the time you read this, Julen Lopetegui has been fired as manager of Real Madrid, and the joke will be that he and Florentino Perez managed to screw up both Spain’s World Cup and the first half of Real Madrid’s campaign, all in less than five months. It’s cruel, sure. But also in some ways, it’s apt given the clunky way in which his appointment was announced and the way the past few months have unfolded.

There’s a basic axiom that every club ought to follow but often doesn’t, because clubs are run by humans and humans are run by emotions: you don’t sack or retain a manager based on the result of a single game. Not only are results of individual prone to luck and happenstance, but if you think he has the tools to succeed, a bad result isn’t going to change that. Nor will a good result suddenly right the ship if you think it’s sinking.

But the Clasico has its own rules and so too does Florentino’s mind. Barcelona road-graded Real Madrid in the first 45 minutes (sack him!). They were 2-0 up but it could well have been twice as many, given the way Jordi Alba was torturing Nacho, the way Luis Suarez was carrying the attack and the manner in which Sergio Busquets was lording over the middle of the park.

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