Clubs, Real Madrid, Spanish Primera División, Story

With Santi Solari signed on through 2021 at Real Madrid, the FC crew discuss what he’s capable of as manager and how long he’ll really be in charge.
With Santi Solari announced as Real Madrid’s permanent manager, ESPN FC’s Paul Mariner explains why he’s the right man to lead Real Madrid forward.

Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that interim manager Santiago Solari has signed a contract to make him the permanent coach of the club until 2021.

Solari, 42, had been coaching the club’s Castilla youth side and stepped up when Julen Lopetegui was sacked after the 5-1 Clasico defeat at Barcelona in October.

On Monday a source at the Spanish federation [RFEF] told ESPN FC that all the relevant paperwork had been filed to change Solari’s status to permanent —  with league rules mandating that an interim coach can only take the team for a maximum two week period.

Madrid were in a scoring funk under first-year boss Lopetegui, netting just five goals in the former Spain manager’s last eight games in charge, but Los Blancos have 14 goals in just four matches since Solari took over on an interim basis.

Former Spain national manager Lopetegui lasted just 14 games as Madrid coach, after being appointed as Zinedine Zidane’s successor last summer.

However, the Clasico loss was the last straw for Real president Florentino Perez, who reportedly first considered more experienced options as a full-time replacement, including ex-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, current Belgium national team coach Roberto Martinez and former Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim.

But victories against Melilla (4-0), Valladolid (2-0), Viktoria Plzen (5-0) and Celta Vigo (4-2) gave Solari statistically the best start of any new manager in Madrid’s entire history, leading to his appointment to the job long term.

Los Blancos now sit sixth in a very tight La Liga table, just four points behind leaders Barcelona, who were surprisingly beaten 4-3 by Real Betis at the Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon.

The Champions League winners of the last three seasons are joint top their UCL group G with Serie A side Roma, who they visit next time out on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Solari made his professional debut as a player with River Plate in 1996 before leaving his native Argentina in in 1999 to play for Atletico Madrid and then Real Madrid, where he won seven titles in five seasons between 2000-05.

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