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Santiago Solari Confirmed as Real Madrid's Permanent Manager Through 2021

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist INovember 13, 2018

VIGO, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 11:  Santiago Solari the manager of Real Madrid reacts during the La Liga match between RC Celta de Vigo and Real Madrid CF at Abanca Balaidos Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Vigo, Spain  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid confirmed on Tuesday they have appointed Santiago Solari as their new manager on a permanent deal until June 2021:

Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 @realmadriden

Santiago Solari, @realmadrid first team head coach until June 30, 2021. https://t.co/HfVsCbLo4A

The 42-year-old had taken charge of the team on an interim basis after previous boss Julen Lopetegui was sacked in October after just four months in charge.

Solari has overseen an upturn in form during his brief time as boss. He led the team to four wins in four games, scoring 15 goals and conceding just two.

Opta noted just how impressive Solari's start to life in the Real Madrid hot seat has been:

OptaJose @OptaJose

1 - @realmadriden have won their four competitive games under Santiago Solari with a goal difference of 13+ (15 goals scored and two conceded), the best start of any Real Madrid manager after the first four games since at least 1929. Confidence. https://t.co/fKHfw4Jpws

The club's recent results have put them back in contention in La Liga. Madrid were thrashed 5-0 by leaders Barcelona in Lopetegui's final game in charge, but Sunday's win over Celta Vigo saw them close to within four points of their fierce rivals.

Solari also oversaw a 5-0 away win over Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League. The victory means the holders sit top of Group G on goal difference ahead of Roma.

The Real Madrid job is Solari's first senior management role. He was previously in charge of the club's B team and spent five years at the Santiago Bernabeu as a player, winning two league titles and the Champions League.

Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno praised Solari after Sunday's 4-2 win at Celta:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Butragueno not being drawn on Solari’s chances of getting job permanently - “He has done excellently, he arrived in a very particular moment and has achieved very good results, above all today in a very difficult game. We are very happy with how things have gone.”

The 42-year-old has also had the backing of several players. Striker Karim Benzema said "we're fine with him" after the Champions League win against Viktoria Plzen, per Football Espana.

Defender Alvaro Odriozola has said the players are with Solari "until death," according to Marca (h/t Football Espana).

While Solari has managed to turn Real Madrid's results around, the club's performances have still been far from perfect. 

ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan noted how he's had some luck along the way:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

That's two opposition own-goals in Solari's two La Liga games in charge - along with the three shots off the woodwork.

Yet Solari has also had to deal with a growing injury list, restore confidence after a thrashing by Barcelona and has not been afraid to make some big selection calls. He has benched big names such as Isco and Marco Asensio and given game time to Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior.

Sportswriter Andy West offered his view on Solari:

Andy West @andywest01

I don't think Real Madrid should be making Solari their permanent manager on the basis of their performances under him. Because they haven't been particularly good. If the decision is based on behind the scenes stuff like training sessions and squad dynamics, fair enough.

Solari's fine start to life at Real Madrid has seen him given the chance to take charge of the Spanish giants on a full-time basis. Madrid are not known for their patience with managers, as shown by Lopetegui's sacking, and Solari will have little room for error at the Bernabeu.

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