JUST IN: Real Madrid appoint new coach, Julen Lopetegui

Tanya Simon
June 12, 2018

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.

Lopetegui and the Spain squad are now at their training base in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.

He only signed an extension to his deal until 2020 last month. They also scored 36 goals, and their form means they are one of the favourites ahead of the tournament in Russian Federation.

The official club announcement reads that "Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of the first team during the next three seasons".

Lopetegui's national squad includes six Real players in Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho Fernandez, Marco Asensio, Isco and Lucas Vazquez.

The Spanish giants broke the news in a Tweet on Tuesday.

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"He will join the club after the participation of the Spanish team in the World Cup, after two years leading the national team".

Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino was initially labelled as the frontrunner, although Spurs have since stated that they will not negotiate a release for the Argentine - who recently put pen to paper on a new deal with the club. The 51-year-old was a goalkeeper in his playing days, and played for both Madrid and Barcelona during his career.

After retiring from football, Lopetegui became an assistant for Spain's U17 team in 2003, before swiftly taking charge of Liga B side Rayo Vallecano.

He then succeeded mentor Vicente Del Bosque in the Spain job following La Roja's early exit at Euro 2016.

"It has been surprising for everybody, but to be honest the three names who had been linked - Pochetitno, Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte - for different reasons they didn't fit the agenda", Balague said.

Indeed, Spain are still unbeaten under the Basque after 20 matches including friendlies.

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