Real Madrid appoint Lopetegui as new head coach

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Real Madrid have announced that Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui will succeed Zinedine Zidane at the helm after the 2018 World Cup.

Zidane resigned as manager shortly after guiding Los Blancos to a third straight UEFA Champions League title last month, when his side beat Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev.

Lopetegui returns to the Santiago Bernabeu, where he previously spent three years as a player before later taking charge of the Castilla team for the 2008/09 campaign.

The 51-year-old, who also wore the colours of Real’s arch-rivals, Barcelona, in his playing days, was seen as a surprise choice, given his lack of experience at club level.

He lasted less than a season at Rayo Vallecano in 2003 and won no trophies during a two-year spell at Porto before being appointed by the Spanish Football Federation.

Lopetegui had even signed a two-year contract extension as recently as last month to lead the national team until 2020, but the capital club managed to lure him away from his current job.

The Spaniard has agreed a three-year deal in Madrid and will be tasked with challenging Barca for domestic honours next term, after Zidane’s side finished 17 points behind the champions.