Spain’s Lopetegui to coach Real Madrid a er World Cup

The Myanmar Times - - World Cup 2018 -

Spain’s base camp in Krasnodar, Rus­sia, on Wed­nes­day.

Lopetegui will take the place of Zine­dine Zi­dane, af­ter he sur­prised the club two weeks ago by say­ing he was leav­ing af­ter win­ning an un­prece­dented three straight Cham­pi­ons League ti­tles.

Lopetegui was Vi­cente del Bosque suc­ces­sor for Spain fol­low­ing the team’s fail­ure to suc­cess­fully de­fend its ti­tle at the 2016 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship.

The 51-year-old Lopetegui is cred­ited with re­viv­ing a Spain team that was on the de­cline in the last years un­der Del Bosque af­ter it won the 2010 World Cup and two straight Euros. He has kept Spain un­beaten through 20 matches in charge and guided it to a first-place fin­ish in a qual­i­fy­ing group that in­cluded Italy for the 2018 World Cup.

Part of his suc­cess was blend­ing in younger tal­ents like Fran­cisco “Isco” Alar­con, Marco Asen­sio and Ro­drigo Moreno into a squad led by vet­er­ans An­dres Ini­esta, Ser­gio Ramos and David Silva.

Lopetegui will soon coach Ramos, Isco, Asen­sio and fel­low Span­ish in­ter­na­tion­als Dani Car­va­jal, Na­cho Fer­nan­dez and Lu­cas Vazquez at Madrid’s San­ti­ago Bern­abeu sta­dium.

His name had not been men­tioned by Span­ish media among the probable can­di­dates for the Madrid job. Just last month Lopetegui agreed to ex­tend his contract with Spain’s na­tional team through 2020.

The im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion on Span­ish sports talk ra­dio was to crit­i­cize the tim­ing of the an­nounce­ment given the pos­si­ble dis­trac­tion it could cause on Spain’s team be­fore a tour­na­ment it has spent two years work­ing to­wards.

Lopetegui was picked as Del Bosque’s re­place­ment mostly be­cause of his suc­cess with Spain’s youth squads. He won Euro­pean cham­pi­onships with the un­der-19 and un­der-21 teams in the early 2010s.

While shin­ing with Spain’s na­tional sides, he had a lack­lus­ter stint with Por­tuguese club Porto in his only stint at a ma­jor club. He was fired af­ter fail­ing to win a ti­tle dur­ing al­most two years in Portugal.

A former goal­keeper who started a hand­ful of games in goal for Real Madrid and Barcelona, Lopetegui played for Spain in the 1994 World Cup. – AP

Photo: AP

In this Oc­to­ber 6, 2017 filer, Spain coach Julen Lopetegui gives di­rec­tions dur­ing the World Cup Group G qual­i­fy­ing soc­cer match be­tween Spain and Al­ba­nia at the Rico Perez sta­dium in Al­i­cante, Spain.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.