Lopetegui shows that he’s in charge

August hasn’t finished yet, but already Julen Lopetegui is asserting his authority and proving that he is the man in charge at Real Madrid.

He made a number of decisions on Sunday which other coaches might have shied away from.

Firstly, he left Vinicius Junior out of his squad for the trip to Girona, instead sending the Brazilian to play with Castilla, the B team.

As for his starting line-up, he left Thibaut Courtois out once again and instead played Keylor Navas, a decision which surprised some given how much money Real Madrid invested in the Belgian goalkeeper.

Also left on the bench against the Catalan side were Raphael Varane and Luka Modric, with Lopetegui placing his trust in Nacho and in a midfield three of Isco, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.

There was a further surprise during the encounter, as Marcelo was hooked in the 60th minute.

“The substitution surprised me, but I respect the decision of the coach,” the veteran left-back said afterwards, adding that he was not hurt or out of fitness.

It is clear, then, that Lopetegui will not be afraid to make unpopular decisions and that he will do what he feels is best for the club.

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