Madrid coach receives vote of confidence

Vanderlei Luxemburgo will remain as Real Madrid coach.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Vanderlei Luxemburgo will remain as Real Madrid coach. Madrid said on Thursday there was "no suggestion of Luxemburgo's dismissal'' following a board meeting. The meeting was held a day after fans protested during its home Champions League game with Lyon. "The board has shown its backing to coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo and full confidence in the first-team squad,'' the club said. The board meeting was scheduled before Madrid's humiliating 3-0 home defeat against FC Barcelona last weekend and not as a response to the team's current difficulties. Club president Florentino Perez was reported to have discussed Luxemburgo's future with him immediately after the 1-1 draw with Lyon. This led to suggestions that the Brazilian would be fired if Madrid loses its next league game at Real Sociedad on Sunday. Supporters jeered Luxemburgo when he replaced David Beckham with Michel Salgado in the 79th minute of Wednesday's game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. 'Strong and calm' Luxemburgo said afterward he felt "strong and calm'' and defended his decision to take Beckham off. "I'm worried about my work but not about continuing. I'm worried about getting the team back to full fitness and form,'' he said. "Beckham was worn out on the field. He was in lots of pain, but people didn't know. If Beckham had died on the field then people would have known,'' Luxemburgo said. Beckham acknowledged his back had been hurting but said the crowd's reaction was normal. Madrid's draw with the French champion left it certain to finish runner-up in Group F, although it had already secured a place in the next round. Madrid is fourth in the Spanish league, four points behind leader Barcelona after 12 matches, having lost three of its last five games. Luxemburgo, who has been in charge for 11 months, is Madrid's fourth coach in the past 2 1/2 years, following Carlos Queiroz, Jose Antonio Camacho and Mariano Garcia Remon. The club's period of upheaval began when Vicente del Bosque was fired in June 2003, a day after the team won the Spanish league title for a record 29th time. Perez said at the time that the star-studded team, which then included Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo, needed "modernizing'' - but since then it has failed to win a major trophy. (AP)