Madrid announced on Tuesday afternoon that Spain national team coach Julen Lopetegui will become their new manager following the World Cup.
Lopetegui is at present in Russia with the Spanish squad, but will take over at the Bernabeu following the resignation of Zinedine Zidane.
It’s an announcement that has come as some shock to the footballing world, as Lopetegui was not among the favourites to replace the Frenchman at the European champions.
Lopetegui has been in charge of ‘La Roja’ since 2016, and has guided them to the World Cup after popping out top in a troublesome group that also featured Italy.
A goalkeeper in his playing days, he has beforehand been involved with Real Madrid, moving from his native Basque country to play with Castilla in 1985 and even making one appearance for the first team.
Since hanging up his gloves he has taken on numerous roles with the Spanish youth teams, before moving to Porto in 2014.
Lopetegui took the Portuguese side to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but poor domestic form led to him being let go after two seasons.
Lopetegui represents a new approach for Real Madrid, as despite those European campaigns with Porto, at club level he does not have particular experience in the biggest games. Though, if he takes Spain deep in the World Cup then little will be made of that.
The appointment additionally provides an attention-grabbing dynamic to Spain’s opening World Cup match on Friday. Lopetegui can be up in opposition to Cristiano Ronaldo, and absolutely considered one of his first duties as Actual Madrid supervisor can be convincing the ahead to remain.
Lopetegui has signed a three-year contract with Madrid, keeping him at the club till 2021