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Real Madrid have reportedly made contact with former Chelsea and Juventus manager Antonio Conte to check his availability as Los Blancos continue to struggle under Julen Lopetegui.
Italian outlets Sportitalia and Corriere dello Sport (h/t Football Italia) both reported the news on Thursday.
Conte is still involved in a legal battle with Chelsea involving a reported €10 million pay off the Blues owe for sacking him earlier this year.
The report stated Conte could drop those demands for the Real job, which remains one of the most prestigious in the sport. According to Telemadrid (h/t AS), Michael Laudrup has also offered his services.
Los Blancos limped into the international break, losing three of their last four matches across all competitions and failing to score in any of them.
A loss against Sevilla and draw vs. Atletico Madrid were not encouraging, but the showings against CSKA Moscow and Deportivo Alaves in particular were worrying. Neither were expected to challenge the European champions, yet both came away with wins.
The lack of goals is a major issue, and Lopetegui appears to be losing the dressing room. Germany international Toni Kroos has already voiced his frustrations with some of his tactics:
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Lopetegui replaced Zinedine Zidane during the summer and initially impressed with his free-flowing football, but the mood around the club has quickly taken a turn for the worse. With El Clasico against Barcelona on the horizon, his job could well be on the line.
Real will play Levante and Viktoria Plzen before their visit to the Camp Nou on October 28, and while they’re expected to beat both, another setback against the Blaugrana could be the final nail in the coffin.
Conte’s second season at Chelsea may have been a disappointment, but he once again showed his ability as an instant-impact manager during his debut year. He guided the Blues to an unexpected domestic league title, a feat he previously achieved with Juventus as well.
The Old Lady struggled tremendously before he arrived, but under Conte they went unbeaten to win their first Serie A title since the Calciopoli scandal.
That sort of impact would be exactly what Real need if the current struggles under Lopetegui persist.