Antonio Conte seemed set to succeed Jules Lopetegui as coach but Santiago Solari quickly won over the president and players of Bernabeu
Whether by design or congratulations, the appointment of Santiago Solari as a regular coach of Real Madrid may well turn out to be the case of perfect timing for the current European champion.
It must have been only a matter of time before Argentina found itself in the warm seat of Santiago Bernabeu. But when Solari was first as interim manager after the departure of Jules Lopetegui, he thought he just kept the seat warm for Antonio Conte.
The Spanish Football Association (RFEF) rules only allow clubs 14 days grace before demanding them to "stick or twist" to coaches and therapists.
With four wins on all the bouncing competitions – and 15 scoring goals in the process – Solari showed in the first place that he was ready for the top position.
Once again, Sergio Ramos's input was undoubtedly affecting the final decision. When asked about the well-known approach of Conte's Iron Fist, Ramos replied firmly, "Honor is earned, not forced," adding that "sometimes knowing how to manage a dressing room is more important than technical knowledge."
The game about Conte!
As a result, Solari has been handed a contract until June 2021 and the feeling is that, at least for now at least, normal service returned at Bernabeu.
Comparisons between solar and Zidane are inevitable, certainly in terms of their treatment and massage the huge ego inhabiting the sacred portals of the most famous football club in the world.
Figures like Zidane, Solar, Carlo Anci and Lotti Vicente del Bosque were clearly suited for the most complex task; Rafa Benitez, and Len Luftegui and Jose Mourinho.
Coaches who place preference in group dynamics have a relaxed approach to management and tend to succeed in Madrid.
It would be a mistake, though, to remove Solaris as a good manager; Is much more than that and the two-bit seasons as the coach of Real Madrid Castile side is evidence of that.
Solar, of course, was a successful player at Real from 2000 to 2005 and returned to the club in 2013 to train one of the youth teams. He was in his third campaign when he was placed on the leading responsibility of reserves of Real during the season 2016-17 Segunda B.
When he took over the side of Castile, the media was often obsessed by the league position of the team, which is often just in the middle of the table. They missed the point. The goal has never been promotion, but the task of turning great potential into big players.
Under his wing, young people like Mario Harmuso (now in Espanyol and recently called the Spanish class of Luis Enrique), Ahmed Hakimi (starring Borussia Dortmund), Oscar (at the funeral), Philippe Linaire (Freiburg), all blossomed. Meanwhile, Jorge Sanchez, Federico Valberda, Alex, Regal, De La Fuenta, Fran Garcia, Serge Lopez and Winnecius Jr. all have "finished" the dispute The first.
What he showed at the time in Castilla is that he is a man who loves the training of young players and, more importantly, knows how to motivate young people because he understands them.
His family is infused with DNA and football, with the sport flowing in. Father Eduardo and Uncle Jorge – and his four brothers, Esteban and David – all became professional, except for David representing Argentina.
However, Santi is not only your run of the mill family's football product.
I knew him for a long time but we really knew each other when I was researching my biography about Leo Messi. I looked for details and anecdotes about Messi and Rosario's hometown, where Solaris also arrives. I toured the town with Santi and found it fascinating.
Soliri understands the importance of having a comprehensive knowledge of the club and the staff you represent, a person with world-class, academic, polite and educated education, with a respectable understanding of the football industry and all the elements contained in it. He also recognizes that there is respect for hierarchies within a changing room.
He took me to some of the terrible angles of the plums, which the young Messiah used to train on and dared to suggest to him that it was great for him, if he could play there, he could play anywhere.
He corrected me quickly, pointing out that bad registrars do not make good players but bad habits, and that to make good players even better you need good facilities, not bad. Two days of discussions developed, and I realized that he was right. But he let me come to this conclusion on my own, instead of forcing it. Again, intelligent man-management.
Remains to be seen how long he will remain in charge in Madrid and if the club will seem to attract a higher profile manager at the end of the season. I believe that the club wants to protect it and use it to put out fires in the coming years, but whatever happens, the likelihood is that there will always be some work for him in Real Madrid.
He is a modest man, but he who knows how to deal with superstars. If he can combine it with an understanding of the mind that controls the carpet in the dressing room of Madrid, then he will almost certainly get the best he can from his galactic.
He has already shown tactical flexibility in his four games as a therapist and has made it clear that it is important for him to play with the greatest possible pitch, ie full backs will be essential in his approach to the game.
The replacement of injured players like Casimiro with Danny Svalbos, and also a youthful display like Avi Senz – who made his debut days ago against Victoria Plaza instead of Reguilon – showed his intention. Age will not be a deciding factor when selecting players.
He left Isco on the bench for three consecutive games because he still has not fully recovered from the appendicitis action and he has also given Marco Asensio a break for two reasons. First, the wing is not in the best position. Second, Solar wants to put a little pressure on Ascensio, many of whom, by mistake, are beginning to look appropriate to the club.
Solar is aware that he needs more than Gareth Bale and he was not shy about mentioning it at press conferences. Welsh still seems detached from the play at times but Solari will be buoyed by the fact that Karim Benzema has been enjoying an increase in his luck in front of goal.
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Elsewhere, 18-year-old Vinicius will continue to play, mainly because Solari believes regular playing time is the best way to improve young players. However, there is also the fact that the new boss realizes that 60 million euros signature (if one includes commissions) can not be rotting on Bernabeu bench.
In short, Solar knows how things work in Real, right now, Real are working well under it. Indeed, they have been back in four points of the league leaders Barcelona.
Santi's smile and sophisticated approach have all won over and now he wants to convert the early success in the cups.