On Tuesday, three-time reigning Champions League champs Real Madrid made a major announcement about a major announcement, letting the world know that they will be presenting Julen Lopetegui as their next manager after the World Cup. Lopategui is currently the manager of the Spain national team, which is about to begin play at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
According to Real Madrid's official announcement, Lopetegui and the club have agreed to a three-year deal. He will join the team for their pre-season preparations at the conclusion of Spain's participation at the World Cup (by the way, here's everything you need to know about what's coming up in Russia in one place).
Lopetegui will replace club legend Zinedine Zidane, who resigned abruptly just days after becoming the first ever manager to win three consecutive Champions League titles. Zizou, as he is affectionately known, won the 2016-17 La Liga title in addition to the three UCL crowns, two FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and one Spanish Super Cup in the three years he was in charge.
A goalkeeper during his playing career, Lopetegui has the distinction of having been a player for both Real Madrid and rivals Barcelona, though never being much of a fixture for either club on the field and serving mostly as a backup. He made most of his appearances for Logroñes and Rayo Vallecano toward the end of his career.
As a manager, Lopetegui has managed several youth levels of the Spanish national team. He managed Rayo Vallecano in 2003 and Real Madrid's B team in 2008-09. His biggest club job as a boss came with Porto from 2014-16, during which time he did not win any major titles, though he did guide the club to the Champions League quarterfinal stage. He was hired as the Spain national team manager in 2016 after Vicente del Bosque retired. He heads into the tournament with the third highest favorite to win it all, with Spain a 6-to-1 favorite to win their second World Cup.