Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui claims that it is not his place to say who will be in charge of the club when they take on Barcelona in the first El Clásico of the season following rumours over his immediate future.
Speculation was high before a ball had even been kicked at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday, where Real Madrid secured a 2-1 win over Czech powerhouse Viktoria Plzeň in the Champions League group stages.
Rumours ahead of kick off suggested that Lopetegui would be booted out regardless of the result in Madrid, but Los Blancos’ head coach was refusing to be drawn into speculation after the match.
“It is not for me to answer [if I will be on the bench for the Clásico],” Lopetegui said, quoted by Marca. “What I know is that we are thinking about and preparing for Sunday’s game.
“It is very important and we will go there with ambition.”
Although Lopetegui might be unwilling to add any fuel to the fire over his future, Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueño did offer an update of the former Spain manager’s future in the capital.
“Lopetegui will sit on the bench at Camp Nou as normal,” assured Butragueño. “In these kinds of situations, it is important to remain calm and trust the players. Sunday’s game is a great motivation for us.”
Real Madrid are currently sitting in seventh place in La Liga, behind the likes of Deportivo Alavés and Real Valladolid. The latter are now owned by former Los Blancos striker, Ronaldo Nazário.
Following this weekend’s El Clásico, Real Madrid will take on Spanish minnows Union Deportiva Melilla in the Copa del Rey before welcoming Ronaldo’s Valladolid side to the Santiago Bernabéu in the league.