Sergio Ramos claims the Real Madrid players will have no input in decisions regarding Julen Lopetegui’s future, with results set to determine the fate of the under-fire coach.
Having only succeeded Zinedine Zidane over the summer, after being relieved of his duties with Spain, a dream job has quickly become a nightmare for the man at the Blancos helm.
He arrived amid the usual pre-season wave of expectation at the Santiago Bernabeu, but has his side sat ninth in La Liga on the back of three successive defeats.
The most recent of those saw Madrid hammered 5-1 by arch-rivals Barcelona in a Clasico clash at Camp Nou dominated by the hat-trick heroics of Luis Suarez.
Lopetegui has vowed to fight on and oversee a reversal in fortune, but that decision may be taken out of his hands.
Madrid skipper Ramos claims to have no knowledge as to what calls will be made by the club’s board, telling reporters when quizzed on his manager: “We are with the coach to the death. But results determine a lot whether a coach stays.
“It is not our decision. So we will stay to the side, let the hours pass and whatever happens will happen. It’s not about the players.”
Casemiro has also spoken out in support of Lopetegui, with the Brazilian midfielder calling for more of the blame during a sorry slump to be piled onto the shoulders of underperforming players.
Madrid find themselves at an important crossroads, though, just a few months into the 2018-19 campaign.
They have endured wobbles before, with Zidane having been given the support he required during a memorable reign to land three successive Champions League crowns.
Lopetegui believes he can build on those triumphs and deliver success of his own, but he now finds himself on borrowed time.
Losing the talismanic presence of Cristiano Ronaldo was always going to hit Madrid and their new manager hard, but few could have predicted that they would find the going so tough.
After taking nothing from their last three outings in La Liga, the Blancos are set to turn their attention to Copa del Rey matters on Wednesday when they take on third tier minnows Melilla.
It remains to be seen whether Lopetegui will still be at the helm for that contest, with Madrid set to be back on home soil next weekend when they play host to Real Valladolid.