5 things you should know about Julen Lopetegui
In what was the most surprising news ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018, Spain boss Julen Lopetegui was appointed as Zinedine Zidane's successor at Real Madrid. Lopetegui will take charge at the Bernabeu after Spain's involvement in Russia.
This appointment truly came out of nowhere as the 51-year-old Spaniard was not considered by anyone to be in the race for the most intriguing job in world football. Also, Lopetegui had recently signed a new deal with the Spanish FA, keeping him at the job until 2020.
But a paltry €2 million release clause was activated yesterday by Real Madrid to make Lopetegui their next manager. It is an interesting choice but going by his past, Lopetegui seems to be a good fit for what will soon be a transitional phase at the club.
So without further ado, let's take a look at 5 things about Julen Lopetegui that you should know.
#5 His long association with Real Madrid
Lopetegui a former goalkeeper, started his career with Real Sociedad but was quickly snapped up by Real Madrid Castilla when he was 19. He spent six seasons in Madrid from 1985-91. After three years with the reserve squad, Lopetegui was promoted to the first team.
But a failure to claim Real Madrid's number 1 goalkeeper led Lopetegui to make just one senior appearance for the club against Atletico Madrid. After his playing days were behind him, the Spaniard worked as a scout for the first team.
Lopetegui also managed the Castilla team in the 2008-09 season and finished sixth in the Segunda division.
From being a reserve goalkeeper to be given the reigns of managing a highly efficient and an expensively assembled squad, Lopetegui's career has completed a full circle.