Real Madrid have sacked Julen Lopetegui as manager following his side’s poor start to his first season at Santiago Bernabeu.

Lopetegui took over from Zinedine Zidane in June but has since been struggling to make his mark in the Spanish capital.

The 52-year-old, who gets sacked after just four and a half months in charge, has lost five games in six including the crushing 5-1 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona on Sunday.

The European champions, who have 14 out of a possible 30 points in the league this season, are ninth in La Liga after their worst start since 2001-02.

A club statement read: “The Real Madrid C.F. board of directors, which met today, 29 October 2018, has made the decision to terminate Julen Lopetegui’s contract as the club’s coach.”

“This decision, which was taken with the utmost responsibility, seeks to bring about a turnaround in the first team’s fortunes at a time when all of this season’s targets are still achievable.”

“The board considers there to be a large disparity between the quality within the Real Madrid squad, which boasts eight nominees for the next Ballon d’Or award – an unprecedented number in the club’s history – and the team’s results to date.”

“The club places on record its thanks to Julen Lopetegui and all of his coaching staff for their efforts and work and wishes them all the best in their future careers.”

“Santiago Solari will take temporary charge of the team, assuming his role as first-team coach from tomorrow, Tuesday.”

However, after being sacked, Lopetegui thanked everyone associated with Real Madrid.

“After the decision taken by the Real Madrid board of directors, I want to thank the club for the opportunity they gave me,” he said in a brief statement provided to EFE.

“Thank you to the players for their effort and their work, as well as to each and every one of the club’s employees, for their good treatment during this time.”

“And, of course, my gratitude to the fans for their backing. I send them my best wishes for the rest of the season.”

Real Madrid back in La Liga action on Saturday afternoon as they take on Valladolid at Santiago Bernabeu following their Copa del Rey clash with Melilla on Wednesday night.

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