Spain announce Julen Lopetegui as new manager
The Spanish Football Federation have announced Julen Lopetegui as their new national team manager. The 9-year-old takes over from Vicente del Bosque who resigned after the Spaniards endured another frustrating campaign as they were knocked out from the Round of 16 stage at the Euros earlier .
Spain have to rebuild after a disappointing phase following an era of unprecedented success. They still have an abundance of talent but need to find an identity with a number of new players in their national team setup.
Del Bosque was in charge of Spain for 114 games, winning a stunning 76.42% of the games. The Spanish national team won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 under his reign, cementing their legacy as one of the most successful teams of all time. Even though their subsequent two international tournaments were disappointing, he will be forever remembered fondly in Spanish footballing legacy.
Lopetegui will now take charge with the challenge of getting the best out of the talent he will have at his disposal and head into the 2018 World Cup with a chance at silverware again. The former Porto manager has coached the Under 19, 20 and 21 Spanish teams and has plenty of experience with the setup.
Spain’s football federation announced that Lopetegui would be formally unveiled on Thursday in Madrid.
The 49-year-old manager played for Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Rayo Vallecano as a Goalkeeper during his playing career, whilst winning a solitary cap for the Spanish national team as well. He has been a manager since 2003, although he worked as a commentator for quite a while in between before he returned to coaching with the Real Madrid Castilla.
Spain ended their Euro 2016 campaign after being tactically outclassed by the Italians and also had to endure a loss to Croatia at the tournament in France. Several major nations have now had managerial changes after the Euros.
Italy replaced Chelsea-bound Antonio Conte with Giampiero Ventura, Sam Allardyce will be replacing Roy Hodgson for England and Marc Wilmots was relieved of his duties as well after Belgium’s own disappointing campaign.
All the managers of semi-finalists in the European Championships seem set to continue in their roles, in what will be seen as a reward for their performances.
Meanwhile, Lopetegui’s first game will be against Belgium in a friendly match scheduled in September. He was also reportedly courted by the English side Wolverhampton Wanderers, recently taken over by a Chinese conglomerate, but will surely be thrilled with the Spain post.