June 12, 2018 / 3:20 PM / 5 months ago

Real Madrid name Spain's Lopetegui as coach

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain coach Julen Lopetegui will take over as Real Madrid manager on a three-year contract after the World Cup, the European champions said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: World Cup - Spain Training - Krasnodar, Russia - June 11, 2018 Spain coach Julen Lopetegui during training REUTERS/Stringer

Frenchman Zinedine Zidane stepped down two weeks ago, days after leading Real to a third consecutive Champions League title.

Lopetegui, who last month signed a new contract through to 2020 with Spain, spent three years with Real as a player, making a solitary first team appearance in 1990.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said in a statement that it would receive “the full buy-out clause so the current national team boss can sign for Real Madrid”.

“The RFEF asks for maximum respect in order that normality is kept in the national team’s training camp just ahead of our first game at the World Cup against Portugal,” the statement added.

The 51-year-old took over as Spain coach in 2016 following the retirement of Vicente Del Bosque who led his country to victory in the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship.

Spain, unbeaten in 20 games under Lopetegui, play neighbors Portugal on Friday in their opening World Cup Group B match in Sochi, Russia before facing Iran and Morocco.

Former goalkeeper Lopetegui spent a season as coach of Real’s B-team Castilla from 2008-09 before taking over as Spain Under-19 manager in 2010.

He enjoyed success with the country’s youth sides, winning the 2012 Under-19 European Championship before repeating the feat as Under-21 boss 12 months later.

Lopetegui’s forays into club management have been less successful. He was sacked from a brief spell in charge of Rayo Vallecano in Spain’s second division in 2003 and left Portuguese club Porto after failing to win any silverware from 2014-16.

Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis

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