Spain national coach Julen Lopetegui will take over as Real Madrid coach after the World Cup, the Spanish club announced on Tuesday, just two days before the tournament begins in Russia.
Madrid had been looking for a replacement since Zinedine Zidane stepped down from the position last month, just days after winning a third consecutive Champions League trophy.
After guiding Spain easily through qualification to the World Cup finals, Lopetegui had agreed 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 last fortnight.
But with three days before Spain’s World Cup opener against Portugal in Sochi, Madrid announced that the Basque tactician will leave that position after agreeing a three-year contract with the La Liga giants.
“Julen Lopetegui will be the Real Madrid coach after the celebration of the 2018 World Cup,” the club’s statement said. “Real Madrid C. F. announce that Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of the first team during the next three seasons.”