Next Real Madrid manager: Odds tumble on Jose Mourinho or Mauricio Pochettino becoming next permanent boss
Real Madrid are on the hunt for another head coach after sacking Julen Lopetegui.
The former Spain coach has been dismissed after just 14 games in charge, the last of which saw Real thrashed 5-1 by Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday. The defeat leaves the club ninth in La Liga, seven points behind leaders Barcelona.
Here, we take a look at the bookies' leading candidates (and some rank outsiders) to take on the challenge of one of the top jobs in world football (odds via Paddy Power).
Caretaker boss Santiago Solari had been odds-on early in the running but has drifted out. Meanwhile, former Everton boss Robert Martinez and current Premier League managers Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino have been backed in significantly.
Santiago Solari 5/2 (Was 4/7)
The man who has been placed in temporary charge. Real have shown a tendency to promote from within and their former midfielder and now reserve coach could follow in the footsteps of Zinedine Zidane, who stepped up to take the reins of the senior side midway through the 2015-16 season and guided them to three successive Champions League titles before standing down earlier this year. Solari played 131 times for Real, winning two LaLiga titles and one Champions League crown.
Roberto Martinez 9/4 (Was 8/1)
The former Everton chief, now in charge of Belgium, is another man that has been heavily linked with the job. Even before Lopetegui's departure, it had been rumoured that an influential group within the corridors of power at the Santiago Bernabeu were pushing for Martinez. That was understood to be down to not only his Spanish nationality but also his recklessly attacking style of football. Martinez, of course, guided Belgium to the World Cup semi-finals this year, losing 1-0 to eventual champions France. Before that, the 45-year-old had been dismissed by Everton in May 2016. From being sacked at Goodison to taking the reigns at the Bernabeu in 2.5 years would be a stark turnaround.
Mauricio Pochettino 11/4 (Was 3/1)
The Argentinian has been linked with the Real top job for some time but signed a new deal at Tottenham earlier this year. Pochettino is yet to win a major trophy, which could work against him, but the former Espanyol boss has been praised for his approach and for promoting young talent. He made suggestions towards the end of last season that he could depart Tottenham but his fresh five-year deal makes that unlikely given just how much compensation Real would have to pay.
Arsene Wenger 4/1 (Was 9/1)
The Frenchman ended his 22-year tenure as Arsenal boss at the end of the season and is a long-term target of Real president Florentino Perez. The 68-year-old has claimed for years that he turned down many big clubs to stay loyal to the Gunners but now has the freedom to listen to such offers. He has struggled to compete at the business-end of the Premier League and in Europe in recent years but could be seen as an ideal short-term solution.
Jose Mourinho 10/1 (Was 25/1)
The Manchester United boss is being looked at by Real President Florentino Perez, according to respected United journalist Duncan Castles. Mourinho managed Los Blancos to the La Liga title during a three-year spell in charged from 2010 to 2013. Things have not being going to plan at Old Trafford this season, with United already nine points off Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table. Could Mourinho be tempted to go back to Spain? Well speaking last week, he indicated he wouldn't be going anywhere: “My future is here. I have a contract and until the end of my contract I only think about Manchester United. I am happy to stay here longer than that.”
Antonio Conte 14/1 (Was 17/10)
A title winner in Italy and England, the 49-year-old left Chelsea under a cloud over the summer following a disappointing 2017-18 campaign. A chance to move to a club with the stature of Real would suit the former Italy boss, while Conte has the character to deal with the pressure at the Bernabeu and was one of the early front-runners with the bookmakers before he was reported to have ruled himself out of the running.
Guti 20/1 (Was 25/1)
A true Real Madrid man, the former playmaker won five LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues during a career which included almost 550 appearances for Los Merengues. The 41-year-old coached the youth teams at the club for several years following the end of his playing career but left the club in the summer to become Senol Gunes’ assistant at former club Besiktas. He would be a favourable appointment with Real supporters, even if he lacks big-game experience as a boss.
Zinedine Zidane is 100/1 to make a stunning return to the club left during the summer. Rafa Benitez and Pep Guardiola are both available at 100/1, as is Jurgen Klopp. England boss Gareth Southgate is 200/1 or for a real outsider, how about Cardiff's Neil Warnock at 500/1?