Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Lopetegui replaces Zidane as Real Madrid coach

Lucia Summers | 12 June, 2018, 19:14

Real Madrid have appointed the current Spanish national team coach, Julen Lopetegui, as their next coach.

Real Madrid have announced that Julian Lopetegui will take over as Real Madrid manager after the World Cup.

The timing is also unexpected as Spain kick off their World Cup campaign on Friday when they take on Portugal at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia.

After guiding Spain easily through qualification to the World Cup finals, Lopetegui had agreed on a new contract up until Euro 2022 just last May, and was not among the more than 20 names which had been linked with the Bernabeu vacancy in the local media over the past two weeks.

"Julen Lopetegui will join the club after Spain's participation in the World Cup, after two years leading the national team", Real said in a statement.

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He also played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, although he only played one league game for Madrid, and five for Barcelona.

He previously managed Porto and the Spanish underage teams.

Zidane's resignation came as a big shock, as he had just led Real Madrid to a third consecutive UEFA Champions League triumph.

Among his first tasks will be resolving the future of Gareth Bale, with the Wales forward unhappy with his limited playing time under Zidane and in a powerful position after scoring twice off the bench in the Champions League final.

The 51-year-old replaced Vicente del Bosque at the helm of La Roja after the defending champions' disastrous 2014 World Cup title defence.

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