Julen Lopetegui will be the new manager of Real Madrid.
The current Spanish national team coach has signed a three-year deal to take charge of the reigning European champions and he will leave his role at the end of the 2018 World Cup.
Following the departure of Zinedine Zidane in mic-dropping fashion just days after he delivered a third-straight European title, Real had been linked with bringing in Arsene Wenger, Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino as their new boss.
In a brief statement on their website, Real announced they’ve appointed the former FC Porto manager on the eve of the World Cup.
“Julen Lopetegui will be the Real Madrid coach after the celebration of the 2018 World Cup. Real Madrid C. F. announce that Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of the first team during the next three seasons. Julen Lopetegui will join the club after Spain’s participation in the World Cup, after two years leading the national team.”
The 51-year-old has an impressive resume after leading Spain’s youth national teams to glory and then leading the Spanish national team to a waltz through World Cup qualifying after he took over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016.
This is somewhat of a surprise but Lopetegui is among the most promising coaches in the world and he will now return to the club where he began his journey. Lopetegui graduated from Real’s academy but played just once for the first team in a nomadic 17-year career across Spain.
Quite what this announcement means for Spain’s chances of winning the World Cup this summer remain to be seen, but Lopetegui will no doubt be fully focused on guiding his nation to success to begin his reign as Real boss in the best possible fashion.