Santiago Solari open to idea of becoming permanent Real Madrid boss

Solari won the Champions League with Real in 2002. (AFP)
Updated 30 October 2018
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Santiago Solari open to idea of becoming permanent Real Madrid boss

  • Interim coach not ruling out taking up role on full-time basis.
  • Former coach Zinedine Zidane made the same route to the Bernabeu dugout from the Real B-team.

MADRID: Santiago Solari said he is open to becoming Real Madrid coach long-term after being put in temporary charge on Monday following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.
Solari has been promoted from his role as manager of the club’s B team, Castilla, and took training for the first time on Tuesday morning at Madrid’s base in Valdebebas.
The Argentinian, who spent five years playing for Madrid between 2000 and 2005, will be in charge for their Copa del Rey game away to Melilla on Wednesday. He has not ruled out becoming Lopetegui’s permanent successor.
“I’m going to go into things very positively,” Solari said at his opening press conference.
“I will do everything I can. It’s a great opportunity and it’s a great club. I don’t just say that now as coach of the first team. I’ve been here with other teams, I’ve played and sweated in the shirt of this club.
“Madrid is bigger than all of us but it touches us all with its greatness. I want to be a part of it.”
Solari is likely to remain in post for Real’s La Liga game at home to Real Valladolid on Saturday and could stay on for next week’s trip to Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League.
Madrid have sounded out former Chelsea and Juventus coach Antonio Conte but initial talks have reportedly not gone smoothly. Belgium boss Roberto Martinez and the club’s former midfielder Guti have also been linked.
Solari, however, is the man in position and a run of positive results could turn opinion in his favor. Asked about his strategy against Melilla, he said “the idea is to go there and play with balls.”
Lopetegui paid the price for five defeats in seven matches, the last a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona on Sunday. Solari believes the players are determined to turn things around.
“They are hurting, obviously, but eager to reverse the situation,” Solari said. “This is a group of champions, warriors, who have won many things. The situation is not the easiest, but I have seen them eager to change it.”
Solari was keen to dismiss comparisons with Zinedine Zidane, who also stepped up from coaching Castilla, before leading Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles.
“He’s one of the greatest things we’ve ever had at this club,” Solari said. “He’s very calm, a great coach and nobody can compare to him.”
Solari will be without Raphael Varane and Mariano Diaz on Wednesday, after Madrid confirmed the pair had sustained injuries against Barcelona.
Varane, who came off at half-time at the Camp Nou, has an adductor problem while Mariano has picked up a hamstring strain.
Any extended absence, particularly for Varane, would be a blow. After Plzen, Madrid face Celta Vigo and Eibar in La Liga next month, before a potentially decisive game away to Roma in the Champions League.


Egypt footballer Amr Warda banned over sexual harassment claims

Updated 26 June 2019
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Egypt footballer Amr Warda banned over sexual harassment claims

  • Sexual harassment claims surfaced earlier this week on social media platforms
  • In 2017 a Portuguese club terminated Warda’s contract over claims he sexually harassed the wives of his team-mates

CAIRO: Egypt’s football federation on Wednesday banned midfielder Amr Warda from playing in any further matches at the African Cup of Nations over mounting sexual harassment allegations.
“Amr Warda is banned from the national squad after discussions with the team’s technical and administrative bodies. This is to maintain the discipline and focus of the team,” said the federation in a statement posted on its website.
The sexual harassment claims surfaced earlier this week on social media platforms. Multiple women posted screenshots and testimonies of Warda’s alleged lewd comments.
The Wednesday decision comes hours after another viral clip posted on Twitter by a social media user showed him apparently exposing himself to her. AFP cannot verify the authenticity of the brief video.
“He’s definitely out. We have a match to focus on tonight,” Ihab Leheita, the Egyptian national team’s manager, told AFP, without giving further details.
In 2017, Portuguese football club CD Feriense terminated Warda’s contract over claims that he sexually harassed the wives of two of his team-mates. His tenure lasted only three days and he was transferred to his current Greek club Atromitos.
Egypt are hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for the fifth time and play DR Congo later Wednesday in their bid to advance from the group stages.
The hosts beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their opening match, during which Warda took to the field.