Real Madrid have made the surprise announcement on Tuesday afternoon of Julen Lopetegui’s appointment as their next coach.
The move comes as a surprise, with Lopetegui not featuring prominently among the host of managers linked with the role since the departure of Zinedine Zidane days after Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool in the Champions League final.
With Spain currently preparing for their World Cup opener with Portugal on Friday, it had been expected that the 51-year-old would sign a new contract to lead La Roja into the subsequent European Championship.
Lopetegui, who has been in charge of the national team for the past two years, has agreed a three-year contract at the Bernabeu.
He previously managed Porto for two years, before taking over at the Spanish national team in July 2016.
However Lopetegui’s exploits with Spain appear to have won out, given that he remains unbeaten ahead of the tournament in Russia having turned around an aging team into one of the genuine favorites for the crown.
The 51-year-old will take up the position after the World Cup, which begins on 14 June.