A shocking appointment made just a couple of days before the World Cup started has left a couple of Real Madrid supporters perplexed. A mere two days before the World Cup, Real Madrid announced that Julen Lopetegui was to be the next national coach for the Spanish team.
The coach has a longstanding history with the team and has appeared as a pro footballer only once. Even though there were some raised eyebrows, Real Madrid reckons this is the most sensible appointment right now. Lopetgui, who is now 51 years of age, has been working with the club for over 30 years. Other than participating as a youth goalkeeper, he has also scouted and acted as coach for Real’s B team.
He was, however, not Perez’s first choice for the position. Mauricio Pocchetino of Tottenham was first on the president of the club’s list. He had already signed a renewal contract with White Hart Lane just moments before Zinedine Zidane’s departure.
Other preferred candidates included Jürgen Klopp and Antonio Conte, but both proved too expensive for Real Madrid. The Spaniard has proven his abilities after he was appointed as national coach in 2016. The team has since gone unbeaten in 20 matches. He is also considered to be close to Real Madrid’s captain, Sergio Ramos.
Correspondence indicates that the sudden appointment was discussed and approved by the team’s Spanish internationals beforehand. Lopetegui played for Real Madrid for just over six years with a single first team performance as goalkeeper. He also played for Barcelona and is a big Messi supporter, something Real Madrid fans won’t like too much.
Lopetegui’s work is cut out for him as a string of Real Madrid players on his team, six of which are on the World Cup team. Supporters are curious as to how the Spaniard will perform as the first team coach. Time will tell.