Spain appoint Julen Lopetegui as new head coach

Spain have confirmed the appointment of Julen Lopetegui as their new national team head coach.

The former Porto manager replaces Vicente del Bosque, who stepped down after Spain’s exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Italy in the last 16.

Del Bosque, who spent eight years in charge, departs as one of the most successful coaches in his country’s history, having guided Spain to a World Cup title in 2010 and a European Championship in 2012.

A statement on the Spanish federation (RFEF) website read: “The RFEF has appointed Julen Lopetegui as the new national team coach.”

Lopetegui, a former Real Madrid and FC Barcelona goalkeeper, will be familiar to many of the Spain national team having managed a number of them at youth level.

He began his coaching career as an assistant to the Spain U17s, before brief stints with Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid Castilla. In 2010, he took charge of Spain U19s and lead them to an U19 European Championship in 2012.  A year later, he did the same with Spain U21s at the U21 European Championship, guiding the likes of David de Gea, Thiago Alcantara and Alvaro Morata to the title in Israel.

Lopetegui left the Spanish Football Federation in 2014 to manage Porto, taking the Portuguese giants as far as the Champions League quarter-finals in his first season.However he was sacked this past January with Porto third in their domestic league and eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage.

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