The Spaniard is the shock choice to replace
Zinedine Zidane, and will take up the role after
the World Cup.
Well not many people saw that coming.
With Spain preparing for their first World Cup match against
Portugal in Sochi on Friday night, Real Madrid have gone and
announced that La Roja’s coach will be their new boss .
In a surprise move, Julen Lopetegu i will take over from Zinedine
Zidane after the tournament in Russia, as announced on the Real
website on Tuesday afternoon.
But what do you know about Real’s new man?
Here are five facts about him.
1. He used to play for them
A former goalkeeper, Lopetegui joined Real Madrid Castilla from
Real Sociedad in 1985 at the age of the 19, linking up with the
side’s highly successful youth setup.
He was promoted to the first team ranks but failed to dislodge the
veteran stopper Luis Arconada, instead going on loan to Las
He played one game for the Real first team, in a 3-3 draw against
Atletico Madrid when Los Blancos had already won the title in the
2. But he played for Barcelona too
The majority of his goalkeeping career was played at Logrones
and Rayo Vallecano, but he had three years at Barcelona in the
He only played five La Liga games during that time though, losing
his battle for the No. 1 jersey with Carles Busquets, the father of
Lopetegui also won his one and only Spain cap in 1994, in a 2-0
friendly loss to Croatia.
3. He’s coached there before
Lopetegui took charge of Real Madrid’s B team in the 2008/09
season, after spells with Spain’s under 17s and Rayo Vallecano.
He guided them to sixth place in Group 2 of the Segunda Division,
largely thanks to 16 goals apiece from Alberto Bueno, later of
Derby County, and Adam Szalai, a current star of the Hungary
4. He’s a double European champion
After that he moved on the Spanish youth setup, coaching Spain’s
Under 19s, 20s and 21s.
The 19s impressed everyone on the way to winning the European
Under-19s Championship in 2012, with Jese Rodriguez top scorer
on five goals and Saul Niguez, Gerard Deulofeu and Suso all
A year later, he won the European Under 21 Championships with
star studded side, featuring Alvaro Morata, Isco, Koke, David de
Gea and Thiago Alcantara, who scored a hat-trick in the final
He then had two years at Porto, failing to win a trophy.
5. He could have been Wolves manager
After leaving Porto in 2016, Lopetegui was the chosen selection by
Wolves’ new owners Fosun International to take charge at
As the Chinese Conglomerate sought to take Wanderers in a
different direction, they replaced then-boss Kenny Jackett and
were in regular contact with Lopetegui.
Lopetegui admitted that he was keen, later stating: “”It was very
close but in the end it wasn’t to be. Wolves is a great club, where
there would be significant investment and a desire to grow, to
The reason it wasn’t to be, simply, was because La Roja came
After being dumped out of Euro 2016 by Italy at the second round
stage, the Spanish federation parted ways with Vicente del Bosque
and hired Lopetegui, who had previously enjoyed great success at
“When the federation called, naturally my objective became the
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