Julen Lopetegui
Julen Lopetegui could be sacked by Real Madrid on Monday after their loss to Barcelona. In this picture, Lopetegui of Real Madrid CF looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on Oct. 28, 2018, in Barcelona, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

Julen Lopetegui looks to have drawn his final straw at Real Madrid with the club expected to sack their manager following a humiliating 5-1 loss to Barcelona on Sunday.

The Spanish coach was appointed in a controversial fashion earlier this summer after Zinedine Zidane decided to step down from his role as the manager just days after leading Real to their third straight Champions League triumph.

Lopetegui, who was the coach of the national team, was expected to lead Spain at the World Cup in Russia this summer, but just days before the tournament began, he was appointed as the manager of the La Liga outfit. The timing of the announcement did not please the Spanish Football Association and they decided to end his tenure as the national team manager with immediate effect.

The 52-year-old had a tough act to follow after Zidane had led them to three straight Champions League titles, but he was expected to carry on the momentum and ensure they challenge arch rivals Barcelona for the domestic title.

Lopetegui, however, has been unable to make an impact since taking over with Real currently ninth in the La Liga table, seven points behind leaders Barcelona. They had lost three games coming into the El Clasico and it was billed as the game that could make or break the Real manager’s career at the Santiago Bernabeu.

And it was a night to forget for the Spanish capital club as they were soundly beaten by their main rivals at Camp Nou on Sunday night. After trailing 2-0 at half-time they seemed to be getting back into the game following a goal from Marcelo Vieira, but a late flurry from Barcelona saw Luis Suarez score a hat-trick to inflict a heavy defeat.

And to add insult to injury, Barcelona did it without their best player Lionel Messi, who sat out of the game due to a hand injury. The Argentine maestro was in the stands and looked to have thoroughly enjoyed his team’s performance over their arch rivals.

According to the Guardian, the Real hierarchy’s patience has run dry and they have made the decision to sack Lopetegui as early as Monday. They are said to want a change and the report claims their preferred option is Antonio Conte.

The Italian manager was sacked from English Premier League club Chelsea earlier in the summer, but is regarded as one of the finest manager’s around having led the Blues to the title in his first season in England.

Conte is currently embroiled in a legal battle with his former employers, but Real are said to be confident of reaching an agreement with the Italian to take over from Lopetegui and get them back to winning ways.

Lopetegui, however, has still not conceded defeat and admitted that things for Real will improve despite their humbling loss to Barcelona, saying: “I’m sad, it’s a tough blow, but I have strength to continue and the belief that things will improve.”