Real Madrid announce Lopetegui as new manager

Tom Devlin by Tom Devlin @rfutbol - 0 +19k

Pin Lopetegui is with Spain in Russia. EFE
Lopetegui is with Spain in Russia. EFE

Real Madrid announce Lopetegui as new manager

Tom Devlin by Tom Devlin @rfutbol - 0 +19k

Real Madrid announced on Tuesday afternoon that Spain national team manager Julen Lopetegui will become their new manager following the World Cup.

Lopetegui is currently in Russia with the Spanish squad, but will take over at the Bernabeu following the resignation of Zinedine Zidane. 

It is an announcement that has come as some surprise to the footballing world, as Lopetegui was not among the favourites to replace the Frenchman at the European champions. 

He has been in charge of 'La Roja' since 2016, and has guided them to the World Cup after coming out top in a difficult group that also featured Italy. 

A goalkeeper in his playing days, he has previously 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 various roles with the Spanish youth teams, before moving to Porto in 2014. 

He 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. 

He 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. Although, if he takes Spain deep in the World Cup then little will be made of that. 

The appointment also adds an interesting dynamic to Spain's opening World Cup match on Friday. Lopetegui will be up against Cristiano Ronaldo, and surely one of his first tasks as Real Madrid manager will be convincing the forward to stay.

He has signed a three-year contract with Real Madrid, keeping him at the club until 2021.

Tom Devlin

Tom Devlin

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