Lopetegui said on Saturday, a day before his team visit Barcelona's Nou Camp, that he still hopes to turn around Madrid's season.
Conversely, though, a win may just buy Lopetegui some time, and Barcelona do come into the game without Messi after he suffered a fractured arm against Sevilla last weekend.
Messi was 22 when Barcelona last played Inter, a 3-2 aggregate win for the Italians in the 2010 semi-finals that remains arguably the peak of Jose Mourinho's career. "It's such a big game, and the whole world wants to watch it". The Whites get into this clash at the back of two successive La Liga defeats and will be going all out to put an end to the streak and grab all three points at Camp Nou. "The Clasico existed before Messi and Cristiano".
"Guti could be ready to be the Real Madrid coach".
His arm in a sling and a wide grin across his face, Lionel Messi was able to enjoy Barcelona's lovely play from the stands for once. In history, Real Madrid has 72 wins in league over Barca, while Barca has 70, with 34 being draws.
Encouragingly, the 30-year old did recently find the back of the net in the 2-1 victory over Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League midweek.
They included excellent stops to deny Luis Suarez and Clement Lenglet, while Philippe Coutinho hit the Inter crossbar midway through the second half.
Both Madrid sides are struggling by their standards in La Liga so far this year, Griezmann's Atleti sitting in fifth place on 16 points and Los Blancos two points adrift of their city rivals in seventh.
Karim Benzema was long seen as the flawless strike partner for Cristiano Ronaldo, with the French striker often setting up goals for CR7.
"And some others will come and then leave".
Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon believes Jose Mourinho will return to the Spanish capital "sooner or later".
"I'm looking at several options, several players who can play in that position or we could change the system. On Sunday we have a game that motivates us a huge amount".