Real Madrid are continuing conversations at boardroom level to decide upon a replacement for Santiago Solari, with former bosses Jose Mourinho and Zinedine Zidane the two main candidates.
Solari spoke of the need to carry on working professionally until the end of the season after Tuesday night’s humiliating Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax.
But the Argentine coach may not be given the chance. The 42-year-old will definitely not be in charge next season and he could be sacked as soon as Monday, Standard Sport understands.
Sunday’s LaLiga game away to Valladolid could therefore be his last, which would be ironic as the former Madrid midfielder took charge of his first league match against the same side in early November.
Real president Florentino Perez met with members of his board on Tuesday night after the 4-1 loss to Ajax, but ultimately decided against sacking Solari the following day.
Another meeting followed on Thursday, with a number of other names discussed, including Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Germany coach Joachim Low.
But all of those are considered to be difficult at this stage, with former Real bosses Zidane and Mourinho the leading candidates to take over.
Mourinho denied any contact earlier this week, but Standard Sport understands Real have been in touch with both the Portuguese and the Frenchman in the past few days.
The former Chelsea and Manchester United manager would be prepared to take over and could be in charge as early as Monday, although Madrid are still interested in bringing back Zidane.
The 46-year-old is unwilling to return straight away, having only left the club in May, but is thought to be tempted by the prospect of a summer arrival if he has money to spend and can oversee a rebuilding project at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Part of the reason Zidane left in the first place was because he knew Cristiano Ronaldo was to depart, while he was told that Gareth Bale was going to stay and that there would be no big signings in the summer window.
There will be big changes this time, though, and significant spending too as Madrid look likely to finish the season without a major trophy for the first time since 2014-15.
Perez turned 72 on Friday, but he will have not been in the mood to celebrate after recent results and the club chief is set for more talks this weekend with Madrid’s managing director Jose Angel Sanchez.
The Real president is under pressure and even though Zidane is the preferred choice, the club chief would rather appoint a new coach now after loud chants for his resignation – and calls for Mourinho’s return – at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.
A decision will be taken in the coming days.