Real Madrid have fired Bernd Schuster as coach and replaced him with former Tottenham and Sevilla manager Juande Ramos until the end of the season.
The 54-year-old’s first game in charge will be Wednesday’s Champions League match at home to Zenit St Petersburg.
Schuster was widley tipped to get the sack following Saturday’s 4-3 loss at home to Sevilla, their third defeat in their last four league games.
“We spoke to Schuster this morning about all the difficulties over the past few months,” said Madrid director of sport Pedja Mijatovic.
“We came to the mutual agreement to take this decision. He took the decision well.
“I have to take the opportunity to thank Bernd Schuster for the work he did at Real Madrid. He did an excellent job last season to win the title and the Spanish Supercopa.”
The German enjoyed a successful first year at the Bernabeu, but Real have floundered amid a spate of injuries this season and now trail a revitalised Barcelona by nine points
Mali international Mahamadou Diarra was the latest to fall victim to the club’s injury curse, joining Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gabriel Heinze, Pepe, Wesley Sneijder, Miguel Torres and Ruben de la Red in the treatment room.
Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas also gave a clue into the negativity pervading the club on Tuesday when he admitted they were not capable of challenging for the league title on current form.
Casillas told radio programme El mirador de Punto Radio: “At the moment the team isn’t capable of winning trophies because Barcelona lead us by nine points and it’s true that they’re playing well.”
“We are going through a bad run. Defensively we are vulnerable, and I’m the first (to blame).
“At the moment it seems that our opponents will have three chances and score three goals and it’s clear that we are all to blame.
“I have been 10 seasons in the Primera Liga and this, for now, is the worst start I have had.”