MADRID, Spain -Vanderlei Luxemburgo was fired Sunday as coach of Real Madrid, one of the world’s most glamorous soccer teams but mired in fourth place in the Spanish league this season.

The dismissal came less than two weeks after the team’s board gave Luxemburgo a vote of confidence. He had been in charge of the team for nearly a year, and the poor play led to protests by fans at recent games.

Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, coach of reserve team Real Madrid Castilla in the Spanish second division, will coach the team for now.

Real Madrid boasts the likes of Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Luis Figo. But it has won just three of its last seven Spanish league games and is six points behind first-place Barcelona. Real Madrid was coming off a lackluster 1-0 league victory over Getafe on Saturday.

Luxemburgo, a Brazilian, is the fifth coach to depart the powerhouse in the past 21/2 years. During that time, it has failed to win a major trophy.

The team announced the dismissal following a meeting attended by club president Florentino Perez, vice president Emilio Butragueno and director of soccer Arrigo Sacchi and an emergency session of the board of directors at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

AP-ES-12-04-05 1644EST


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