Wolves-linked Julen Lopetegui becomes new Spain boss

first_img1 Spain have appointed Julen Lopetegui as their new head coach.The 49-year-old former Porto boss succeeds Vicente del Bosque, who stepped down after eight years in the job following a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign.A former goalkeeper with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Logrones and Rayo Vallecano, Lopetegui has coached Spain at various youth levels and was in charge of the side that won the European Under-21 Championship in 2013.Many of the players in that U-21 squad have gone on to play for the senior team, including David de Gea, Koke, Isco and Thiago Alcantara.Spain also won the European Under-19 Championship under Lopetegui in 2012.The Basque, who was part of Spain’s 1994 World Cup squad but only won one cap in his career, ended his four-year association with the RFEF in 2014 before taking charge of Porto on a three-year contract.However, he was unable to claim any silverware with the Portuguese giants and was dismissed in January after 18 months.He has recently been linked with Wolverhampton Wanderers, with the Championship side’s prospective new owners reported to be keen to bring him in as a replacement for Kenny Jackett.Lopetegui has big boots to fill in charge of the senior Spain team, with the outgoing Del Bosque having been the most successful coach in La Roja’s history.The ex-Real Madrid boss led Spain to victory at both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 while winning over 75 per cent of his 114 matches in charge.Del Bosque’s final game was the Euro 2016 last-16 clash against Italy, where a 2-0 defeat ended with the holders being knocked out.The 65-year-old confirmed in the wake of that loss he would not be extending his Spain contract which was due to run out at the end of this month.Spain are due to play Belgium in a friendly on September 1 before beginning their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup against Liechtenstein four days later. The other teams in Spain’s qualifying group are Italy, Albania, Israel and FYR Macedonia. Julen Lopetegui last_img read more