First, he failed to listen. Second, he failed to calculate.
Those who point to his team's 5-1 thrashing at the Camp Nou on Sunday or to the Santiago Bernabeu humiliation at the hands of Levante -- take your pick of moments, matches or maudlin images of the defeated Basque -- are wrong.
Lopetegui, according to the Real Madrid communique that was issued, hasn't been sacked because of a specific result or because Perez, in his wisdom, has been vigilant around the training ground and sees deep flaws in the sessions or the ideas being taught at Valdebebas. No, it is because of the "disparity between the high-quality squad and the low-quality performances" that the former Spain manager, who gave up his chance to compete for a World Cup victory for what has turned out to be a 138-day, 14-game stint in charge of Madrid, has been kicked out.
That's what the Real Madrid letter of dismissal explains, and here's where the clues to Lopetegui's blunders lie.On Thursday, May 31, he and all of his Spain squad (except the Madrid players who'd just won the Champions League for the third straight year) gathered together at Las Rozas, about 30 minutes' drive outside the Spanish capital, in preparation for the impending World Cup. When Zinedine Zidane's hastily arranged news conference for lunchtime that day was broadcast live on radio and television, you can forgive the 52-year-old for not being wholly attentive.
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