Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas criticised Santiago Solari, saying he never felt he would get a chance regardless of what he did under the former head coach.

Navas made just his fourth start of the LaLiga season against Celta Vigo on Saturday, given his opportunity by Zinedine Zidane after the Frenchman returned to the helm earlier this month.

The Costa Rica international said there was nothing he could do to convince Solari he deserved to play more often.

"I did have the feeling that whatever I did in practice, I wasn't going to play," Navas told Cadena COPE on Tuesday.

"But I've always been a professional. I was motivated to do things well because I'm privileged."

Navas, who joined Madrid in 2014, is contracted until mid-2021 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 32-year-old said he was focused on the LaLiga giants, but warned he needed to be playing more often.

"I have a contract. My enthusiasm has always been at Real Madrid and I am focused on what is coming," Navas said.

"I have given everything for this club and I will continue giving it while I'm here, but I don't want to spend another year like that."

Vinicius Junior revealed he chose the "best project" when opting for Real Madrid over Barcelona.

The Brazilian forward, 18, signed for LaLiga giants Madrid in May 2017 before officially making the move from Flamengo in July last year.

Vinicius said Barca had offered him more money, but his decision was based on what he felt was a better move.

"My father never told me of interest until Barcelona and Real Madrid," he told Cadena SER.

"Then we visited both clubs and liked them both.

"Barcelona wanted to pay more, but we wanted the best project and Marcelo and Casemiro spoke to me and helped me decide."

Vinicius suffered an ankle injury earlier this month and is set to be sidelined until May in a blow for Madrid.

The teenager must wait to feature under Zinedine Zidane, back at the helm after replacing Santiago Solari, and Vinicius said he could already see the differences between the two coaches.

"Casemiro told me that, when Zidane spoke, he would get a bit nervous," he said.

"It is quite different how Zidane speaks compared to Solari. He is a legend, he won everything and he is special.

"To me, he said to be calm about the injury in order to return stronger."

Jose Mourinho has described the reunion of Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid as "perfect".

Having coached the Spanish giants between 2010 and 2013, Mourinho had been linked with a return to the Santiago Bernabeu to replace Santiago Solari, who was sacked following Madrid's Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax.

Former club chief Ramon Calderon revealed to Love Sport Radio that president Florentino Perez preferred Mourinho, but pressure from the senior leaders in the Madrid locker room, including captain Sergio Ramos, swayed him towards Zidane.

The Portuguese, who was dismissed as Manchester United manager in December 2018, has given Zidane his endorsement by backing the Frenchman to "show how good he is."

Primer entrenamiento de Zidane
@RCCelta#RMCity | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/KbrumChgiO

— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) March 13, 2019

Zinedine Zidane says he returned to Real Madrid because he loves the club and president Florentino Perez and is excited to lead their recovery.

The former France star was confirmed as the shock successor to Santiago Solari on Monday on a three-year deal, after the Argentine was sacked as head coach in the wake of damaging defeats to Barcelona and Ajax.

Zidane led Madrid to three consecutive Champions League triumphs and nine trophies in total before he stepped down in May last year, a decision he insists was made "for the good of everyone".

However, he is now eager to get back to work at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"It's a special day for everyone," he said at his presentation. "I'm very happy to come back home. I don't have anything to say - I'm very happy to be back and I want to work to put this club back where it should be. 

"I left because a change was needed at end of last season, for the good of everyone, as they had won so much. I returned as the president called me, and I love him, and this club.

"After eight months, I was eager to return to coaching. At the end of [last] season, I made the decision for the good of everyone.

"It's a great responsibility. All the players here love this club a lot, and I am one more, I played with this badge, I won a lot of things."

Madrid lost to Barca in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg and LaLiga, effectively ending their hopes of domestic silverware, before they were stunned by Ajax in the Champions League last 16.

Zidane is under no illusions as to the task at hand, saying there were disappointments in his final season in charge when they failed to defend their league title or win the Copa del Rey.

"I don't forget what we won, but neither do I forget the bad things," he said. "We lost LaLiga quickly, also the Copa del Rey. We won the Champions League, okay, but I know where I am.

"I'm going to give everything so that this team becomes better."

Perez revealed he approached Zidane five days ago to ask him to return and thanked him for embracing the challenge of leading a "new era".

He also praised Solari for conducting himself with dignity during a difficult end to his time in charge.

"We're going through a tough moment," he said. "These players have given us unforgettable trophies. It's to be proud of and we shouldn't forget what we've fought for to achieve this. Everyone will be remembered by us, always.

"We haven't achieved the results we expected. I want to recognise Solari's work. Until the last moment, he showed loyalty to the club, love for the club and his effort has been undeniable from the first day. We want him to continue with us at our club, if he wishes.

"We haven't reached the collective level we expected. We want to start to work for a new era with one of our symbols at the forefront. That's why, today, we welcome Zidane.

"He assumes responsibility in a moment of great difficulty. If you're here with us, it's because you love this badge. When we offered you the chance to come back five days ago, you showed your love for the club."

Zinedine Zidane's return to Real Madrid as Santiago Solari's replacement reunites the club with one of its most decorated coaches.

France legend Zidane parted ways with Madrid just 10 months ago, in the afterglow of a third consecutive Champions League triumph, but has been convinced to return by president Florentino Perez despite strong interest from elsewhere in Europe.

The 46-year-old, who starred for Los Blancos as a player for five seasons, won nine trophies during his two-and-a-half years as head coach at the Santiago Bernabeu - only Miguel Munoz can claim to have won more silverware while in charge of the club.

As Zidane begins his second stint at the helm, we take a look back at some of his finest moments as a coach in Spain's capital.

 

STRONG START IN EL CLASICO

Zidane stepped into the hot seat as Rafael Benitez's successor in January 2016 and met perennial rivals Barcelona in the Clasico three months into his tenure.

Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo scored second-half goals at Camp Nou as Zidane emerged with a 2-1 victory that brought Barca's 39-match unbeaten run to an end.

The result made him the first Madrid boss to win his first Clasico since Bernd Schuster in December 2007.

 

UNDECIMA GLORY

Zidane's first opportunity for silverware came when he guided the club past Roma, Wolfsburg, Manchester City and into the 2016 Champions League final, where they faced city rivals Atletico Madrid.

The World Cup winner tasted Champions League glory as a Madrid player in 2002 and Sergio Ramos set his side on course for another title when he scored in the 15th minute in Milan.

Yannick Carrasco equalised 11 minutes from time but a 5-3 penalty shootout victory ensured Zidane's first campaign at the helm ended with the club celebrating an 11th triumph - dubbed 'Undecima' - in Europe's top competition.

 

STUNNING STREAKS

Madrid lost just one game between Zidane's appointment and the end of the 2015-16 season, embarking on a spectacular streak of LaLiga victories following their 1-0 defeat at home to Atletico on February 27, 2016.

That run continued to a club-record 16 matches with top-flight triumphs over Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo, Osasuna and Espanyol at the outset of 2016-17, breaking the club's previous league record of 15 straight wins set in 1960-61.

Their remarkable form extended across all competitions and they reached 40 matches without defeat in all competitions, a record in Spanish football, with a 3-3 draw against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey on January 12, 2017.

They finally succumbed to a 2-1 loss at Sevilla in LaLiga three days later, but the 39-game record set by Luis Enrique's Barcelona had been erased.

BACK TO BACK IN EUROPE

Only one man had managed to win the Champions League twice in their first two seasons in management prior to Zidane's arrival on the scene.

Jose Villalonga did so with Madrid in the 1950s and Zidane joined him in the history books by leading Los Blancos to a sensational 4-1 thumping of Juventus in the 2017 decider, with Cristiano Ronaldo on target twice against his future employers.

And yet, almost unthinkably, there were bigger things to come across the next 12 months...

 

TREBLE CONTAINED IN INCREDIBLE QUADRUPLE

Though a second LaLiga title eluded him, it would have been greedy of Zidane to ask for much more than the four trophies he won during the final season of his first stint in charge.

Another incredible campaign began with success against Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup final and Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana, both victories within the same month.

FIFA Club World Cup glory followed in December 2017 as the near-unstoppable Madrid train tore through tournaments on the way to the ultimate crescendo.

Liverpool awaited in the Champions League final at the end of the season and, with help from Benzema and a brilliant Gareth Bale brace, a 3-1 win elevated Zidane to unprecedented heights as the first coach to claim the crown in three successive seasons.

Senior Real Madrid players pushed for Zinedine Zidane to be appointed as head coach instead of Jose Mourinho, according to former club president Ramon Calderon.

Zidane was announced as the replacement for the sacked Santiago Solari on Monday, just 10 months after he stepped down following a third Champions League triumph in a row.

Mourinho had been linked with a return to the club he left in 2013, prompting reports of deep concern among some leading figures in the Madrid dressing room.

Although he delivered success in LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana in his three years in charge while competing with Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, Mourinho's often abrasive management style caused friction within the playing squad and led to arguments with stars including Iker Casillas.

And Calderon, Madrid president between 2006 and 2009, thinks some of the current squad lobbied for Zidane's return precisely because of his less confrontational manner.

"I think it's a good choice," he told Sky Sports. "The other one was Mourinho. I think in the last days, the leaders of the dressing room pushed to reject that possibility. He left a lot of problems here.

"He was very controversial when he was here, [there were] a lot of problems, the fans are divided. He's a good coach, no doubt - he's got a lot of trophies. But it's a problem.

"Many, many players, maybe the leaders of the dressing room, didn't like him. I think that's been important in the decision to call Zidane again and try to convince him. They managed to do that and I think it was lucky for Real Madrid. It was a good choice."

Zidane won nine major trophies in his first spell at the Santiago Bernabeu, but stepped down last May amid suggestions of a disagreement with president Florentino Perez on transfer plans.

Although he admits it is a risky decision by the former France star, Calderon thinks he can replicate his success.

"I think he could be able to continue what he did," he said. "Again, we have the problem that we do not have a director of football. I don't know what the idea of Zidane is. But, first and foremost, it's a good choice to have him here as coach.

"When he left, he said clearly he didn't need a goalie, he thought it was imperative to keep Cristiano Ronaldo, and he thought it would be needed to find a solution for [Gareth] Bale. Maybe he has the opportunity to do something different. Of course it's risky.

"He left a good impression for everyone here. The players loved him, he was able to change completely the idea that coaches like [Rafael] Benitez or Mourinho had - a strong hand. They don't need that.

"Also, for fans, he's an idol here, he was as a player and as a coach, winning three Champions Leagues in a row."

Santiago Solari has been sacked as Real Madrid head coach after just four months in charge, with Zinedine Zidane returning to the club on a three-year deal.

Madrid have opted to end Solari's tenure despite Sunday's 4-1 win over relegation-threatened Real Valladolid, which came at the end of a tumultuous period for Los Blancos.

Back-to-back Clasico defeats to fierce rivals Barcelona signalled the end of their Copa del Rey and LaLiga hopes this season, while a shocking 4-1 home collapse to Ajax saw their Champions League reign come to an unceremonious end.

Solari took over as caretaker after Julen Lopetegui's sacking in late October, initially overseeing an upturn in Madrid's fortunes and earning a contract until mid-2021.

However, the Spanish giants again started to struggle last month and have lost four straight home games for just the third time in their history.

That loss of form has prompted them to turn back to Zidane, who left after last season's third successive Champions League triumph.

The Frenchman has penned a deal until June 2022, ending speculation of a possible return for Jose Mourinho or an approach for Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Santiago Solari's spell as head coach of Real Madrid lasted less than five months but his time in charge featured no shortage of highs and lows.

The club's board called time on his tenure after a run of four defeats in six games left Madrid sitting third in LaLiga, 12 points behind leaders Barcelona, out of the Copa del Rey and eliminated from the Champions League following a shock defeat to Ajax.

The Argentinian, who twice won LaLiga during his time as a player at the Santiago Bernabeu, left following a 4-1 win at Real Valladolid on Sunday.

But the victory was not enough to save Solari's job, and we look back at his tenure here.

 

October 29 – Lopetegui axed, Solari takes over on interim basis

Following the 5-1 embarrassment in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou, Madrid acted swiftly and decisively, ending Julen Lopetegui's short reign a day later and putting Solari in temporary charge. He left Gareth Bale and Isco out for his first match, a Copa del Rey meeting with Melilla. Little did they know that lack of involvement was to become a feature of his time in charge.

November 13 – Madrid appoint Solari until 2021

Having won each of his first four games across all competitions, Solari was hired on a full-time basis until 2021. There was a sense of Madrid having their hands forced, though, as league regulations prohibiting having an interim coach for more than two weeks meant they effectively had to stand him down or give him a permanent contract.

November 24 – A bad start

It did not take long for the cracks to reappear. Solari's first game as full-time head coach saw Madrid lose to Eibar for the first time, the Basque club running out 3-0 winners at Ipurua. Another bad result came a few weeks later in the Champions League, as they were beaten 3-0 at home by CSKA Moscow. Luckily for Madrid, however, they had already secured top spot and the last-16 draw gave them a seemingly straightforward tie with Ajax.

December 22 – Club World Cup champions … again

Solari can at least depart Madrid knowing he did win a trophy, regardless of how much importance is placed on the Club World Cup within Europe. A 4-1 win over Al Ain – who qualified as hosts – in the final saw them win the title for a third year in a row.

January 6 – Vinicius Junior gets his first LaLiga start

If there is any genuine legacy Solari leaves, it is that he was the first coach to really trust the prodigious Vinicius. The Brazilian had made a handful of substitute appearances in LaLiga, but he got his first top-flight start on January 6. Although the game ended in a 2-0 defeat to Real Sociedad, Vinicius was barely out of the side since until sustaining a torn ligament in his calf in March.

February 6 – Madrid show promise in Camp Nou

In the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final with Barcelona, Madrid looked as though they had learned their lessons from the October battering. They claimed a 1-1 draw in Catalonia and produced a gutsy display, filling them with hope ahead of the return game.

February 9 – Solari sinks Simeone

Without question, the finest result of Solari's spell in charge came in a 3-1 win away to Atletico Madrid in the derby. The result not only appeared to reignite an unlikely title challenge by moving Los Blancos up to second, it was also their first victory at the Wanda Metropolitano. The manner of the triumph was also impressive, as they outfought an Atletico team renowned for thriving in a scrap.

February 27 – The beginning of the end

Madrid's best chance of a trophy vanished with a 3-0 defeat at home to Barca in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg. Solari's men struggled to threaten the opposing goal, while Ernesto Valverde's men played it cool and ultimately picked them off.

March 2 – Barca's Clasico dominance continues

Three days on from halting Madrid's Copa hopes, Barca essentially ended their LaLiga chances as well. Ivan Rakitic's clever chip proved decisive as Solari's side again struggled to break Valverde's men down. It extended Madrid's winless run in Clasicos to six matches and left them 12 points adrift of the summit.

March 5 – Ajax hand out total humiliation

With a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Amsterdam, Madrid were confident of getting beyond Ajax regardless of their form going into the game. What they got was a demolition. Two early goals had Ajax in control and heading into the last eight, before the excellent Dusan Tadic made it 3-0. Marco Asensio pulled one back, but Lasse Schone wrapped up a 4-1 win. Madrid's European domination lay in ruins.

March 11 – Santia-GONE

The knives were sharpening for Solari when Anuar Tuhami put Valladolid 1-0 up after 29 minutes of Madrid's trip to the Jose Zorrilla but strikes from Raphael Varane and Luka Modric either side of a brace from Karim Benzema helped Madrid bounce back from the defeat to Ajax with a 4-1 victory.

It was not enough to keep the club's board from wielding the axe and sacking Solari the following day, with Zinedine Zidane announced as his replacement on a deal until 2022.

There is an old saying in football that 'you should never go back'.

It is not true in some cases. Zinedine Zidane's success as a head coach at Real Madrid after a glorious playing career is proof of that.

Unfortunately, for some it is advice that perhaps should have been heeded, and that is maybe how Santiago Solari will be feeling after his Los Blancos reign was brought to an end after just four months, with Zidane immediately installed as his successor.

Back-to-back Clasico defeats that effectively ended Madrid's hopes of domestic silverware were followed by an embarrassing Champions League last-16 exit to Ajax last week. And that meant the writing was on the wall for Solari, a LaLiga and Champions League winner with Madrid as a player.

Here, we look at some other notable examples of ex-players whose return to clubs as head coaches did not exactly go to plan.


Thierry Henry (Monaco)

France great Henry started a medal-laden playing career that would take in spells with Juventus, Arsenal and Barcelona at Monaco, winning the Ligue 1 title in 1996-97. When Henry returned to Stade Louis II as a head coach in October 2018, it was supposed to be the start of a brand new love affair. However, he lasted just 20 games in charge and won only five before being sacked in January. 

Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan)

One of the most revered strikers in Serie A history, Inzaghi was a hero with the red and black side of San Siro, winning two league titles, a Coppa Italia and a pair of Champions Leagues between 2001 and 2012. Having initially taken over as coach of Milan's Primavera team for the 2012-13 season, Inzaghi was promoted to the top job in June 2014. However, after a season of toil, which failed to deliver European football, Inzaghi was dismissed.

Ciro Ferrara (Juventus)

Fearsome centre-back Ferrara was an icon during his time as a player at Juventus, which yielded a host of honours including five Serie A medals, a Coppa Italia triumph and a Champions League title. A golden homecoming was the target when he replaced Claudio Ranieri as head coach in June 2009, but by January of the following year Ferrara had been sacked, with Juve struggling in Serie A and out of the Coppa Italia and Champions League.

Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)

To this day there are few, if any, men who command higher status among the St James' Park faithful than Shearer. Both Newcastle and the Premier League's all-time leading scorer, all that was missing from his time at his hometown club was silverware. When an SOS call came at the end of a miserable 2008-09 campaign, Shearer answered and took up his first managerial role. However, with just eight games of the season remaining, he was unable to oversee a turnaround in fortunes and Newcastle were relegated, their 16-year stay in the top flight - and Shearer's tenure - ending with a 1-0 loss at Aston Villa.

Rogerio Ceni (Sao Paulo)

The cult hero and enigmatic goalkeeper was known as a free-kick and penalty specialist who scored 131 goals for Sao Paulo. As a player he won three Club World Cup titles, a pair of Copa Libertadores trophies and the Campeonato Brasileiro three times. It did not work out for him as a head coach at Sao Paulo, though. Ceni was appointed in December 2016 and sacked just seven months later after a wretched run of results left them struggling in the relegation zone of the Campeonato Brasileiro, while they were also knocked out of the Campeonato Paulista, Copa do Brasil and Copa Sudamericana in quick succession.

Zinedine Zidane has agreed to return to Real Madrid as head coach, according to widespread reports in Spain.

It is said the former France star will be confirmed as a replacement for Santiago Solari on Monday at around 1800 local time (1700 GMT).

It is unclear whether Zidane will take charge until the end of the season or sign a longer-term contract.

Solari has reportedly said his goodbyes to staff at Madrid's Valdebebas training ground, having been expecting to be relieved of his duties following a torrid run of results.

According to an initial report by Jugones, Zidane has been convinced to return by president Florentino Perez despite receiving offers from elsewhere, with Juventus said to be among his suitors.

Zidane stepped down last May after winning a third consecutive Champions League with the club he represented for five years as a player.

"I am doing this for the good of this team, for this club," he said at the time. "It would have been difficult for me to win again next year. There have been good moments, but also difficult times. I do not forget that.

"And at this club, you must know this: I do not want to start a season and have a bad time. I want to end with Real Madrid when everything is going well. I did it as a player, and now again as a coach. This [is] the right moment to end things well."

Solari oversaw back-to-back Clasico defeats in the Copa del Rey and LaLiga that effectively ended their chances of domestic silverware this season.

Madrid were then humbled 4-1 by Ajax in the Champions League last-16 second leg, ending their three-year spell as European champions.

It is thought Solari will remain at the club in another capacity.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema urged the club's critics to remember their recent achievements and refused to entertain a question about Jose Mourinho returning to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Benzema continued a fine individual season with a second-half brace in the 4-1 win over Real Valladolid, taking his haul for the campaign to 22.

But Madrid turned in an accident-prone opening 45 minutes at the Jose Zorrilla, with head coach Santiago Solari conceding the damaging string of home defeats to Barcelona and Ajax that ended their hunt for major honours in the space of a week had taken a toll.

"We lost a very important match against Ajax and it seems that we have never won anything," Benzema said, in quotes reported by Marca.

"Do not forget that we have won a lot these years. That is very difficult and very important."

But a trophy-less season on the back of four European titles in the space of five years does not bode well for Solari, with some reports suggesting he could be replaced by Mourinho soon.

"I hope Solari is here until the end of the season but that is a club issue and I don't want to discuss it," Benzema said.

"We're with Solari. If a squad wasn't with their coach, then they wouldn't have played a game like we did today.

"Why change now? We have 11 games left and we hope he will stay with us."

Asked about Mourinho becoming Madrid's next coach, the experienced French forward replied: "I cannot answer you, I have a coach now and it's a club issue.

"Being eliminated from the Copa [del Rey], the Champions League and with LaLiga almost impossible, it's difficult.

"Football is like that. We have to continue and wait to win the 11 games we have left and enjoy football, which is the most important thing.

"We always have to win, we have a great team and people have to be more with us because, in football, there is a lot of change."

Benzema added: "I do not mean only the fans, the journalists too. When I talk about people, I talk about everyone.

"I do not say that journalists have to be with us, but we must not forget that we won many different things and that is important. It's difficult – every year the rivals are more difficult."

Real Madrid head coach Santiago Solari conceded he has no guarantees over his future after Saturday's 4-1 win over Real Valladolid.

Following back-to-back defeats against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey and LaLiga and their shock Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax, Madrid turned in a shambolic opening half hour at the Jose Zorrilla.

Sergi Guardiola had a pair of goals disallowed for offside after Ruben Alcaraz blazed a penalty over the bar and Valladolid belatedly took a 29th-minute lead through Anuar.

Raphael Varane equalised and Luka Modric concluded the scoring late on following a Karim Benzema's second-half brace and a red card for Casemiro.

Jose Mourinho has been heavily linked with a return to the Santiago Bernabeu as early as next week and Solari was reluctant to discuss his long-term job prospects at a post-match news conference.

"I cannot answer that," he said when asked whether he was staying in the post. "Tomorrow we have a training session, and that is what I focus on.

“It has been a difficult week for everyone, and of course the players too. The first 25 minutes reflected that, and we found it tough.

"But the rest of the game they knew how to come through that, which speaks to their spirit and professionalism."

Solari's cause was hardly helped by a post-match interview from Madrid director Emilio Butragueno.

Asked on Movistar whether Solari would stay in position until the end of the season, the former Madrid forward replied: "Solari is a great professional, but we are here now to talk about the game."

Pressed on whether this meant a lack of trust in Solari, Butragueno added: "No, what I'm saying is that we're here to talk about the game."

If it does prove his swansong, Solari will at least depart satisfied with the application his injury-hit side showed against relegation-threatened Valladolid.

“It was a very difficult game after the week that we have had - to come here to such a difficult stadium, against a team in this situation, and with us having so many injuries," he said.

"So we are full of satisfaction and pride. They are great professionals."

Nacho conceded Real Madrid's nightmare week took a toll as they came from behind to win 4-1 at Real Valladolid in LaLiga.

Back-to-back home losses to bitter rivals Barcelona – the first in the Copa del Rey semi-final – ended Madrid's hopes of domestic trophies this season in the space of four days before Ajax stunned the Santiago Bernabeu with a 4-1 win on Tuesday to claim a 5-3 aggregate triumph in the last 16 of the Champions League.

This sapping run did much to explain Madrid's punchdrunk emergence at the Jose Zorrilla, as Ruben Alcaraz missed an early penalty for the hosts and Sergi Guardiola had two goals ruled out for offside before Anuar opened the scoring.

Raphael Varane capitalised on a mistake from Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip to equalise and Karim Benzema gave Madrid an early second-half lead from the penalty spot.

Benzema headed home a second and Luka Modric completed the scoring after his team-mate Casemiro was sent off nine minutes from time.

"It was a crazy first half," said Nacho, who struggled early on at the heart of an over-run defence. "We came out and were a little bit disorganised.

"It's been a realty tough week or 10 days. You could say we were a little but fortunate in that first half.

"In the second half you could say it was the Real Madrid of old.

"It's been a really, really complicated week and it's not easy to live through these situations.

"I don’t think it excuses the start. It's been complicated.

"We're not used to a situation where we've got nothing to play for but we've forgotten the every day demands – play for this badge and this shirt."

Speculation has mounted this week over whether the trip to Valladolid would prove Santiago Solari's last game as head coach, with Jose Mourinho rumoured to be waiting in the wings for a Madrid return.

Asked about Solari's future, Nacho pledged to fight for the ex-Madrid midfielder but conceded the current predicament is not ideal for anyone involved.

"It's difficult for everybody, it's not a situation we're used to. We normally go on holiday at the end of the season with a trophy to celebrate," he added.

"I feel sorry for the gaffer but things just have not been working out for us.

"Santiago Solari is our manager. We will fight to the death for him and leave everything out on the pitch."

Isco has once more been left out of the Real Madrid squad, with head coach Santiago Solari instead calling up Brahim Diaz and two youth players for Sunday's game against Real Valladolid.

Spain international Isco has only made two appearances since January and reportedly did not attend the pre-match team talk ahead of the Champions League defeat to Ajax, nor did he travel on the team's coach for the match, leading Madrid's hierarchy to consider sanctions.

Solari intimated on Saturday that the 26-year-old needs to improve his fitness if he wants to return to the side, and the midfielder has not made the 19-man group for the trip to Valladolid despite several injuries and the suspension of captain Sergio Ramos.

Even though Dani Carvajal, Gareth Bale, Vinicius Junior, Lucas Vazquez, Mariano Diaz and Marcos Llorente are injured, Solari has instead turned to Diaz and the two Castilla players Seoane and Cristo Gonzalez.

Cristo made his LaLiga debut in the 2-1 win at Real Betis in January but has only played four times for the senior side in all competitions, while Seoane played in the Castilla's 2-0 win over Celta Vigo only 24 hours ago.

Madrid are 15 points behind league leaders Barcelona and eight adrift of second-placed Atletico Madrid, having played one game fewer than their rivals.

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