KickOff.com explores three key reasons why Julen Lopetegui's Real Madrid move is not surprising
Posted: 13 June 2018 Time: 10:30
In a shock announcement just two days before the FIFA World Cup, Spain coach Julen Lopetegui was announced as Zinedine Zidane successor at Real Madrid.
"I think Lopetegui is ready to train Real Madrid," former Spain and Real coach Vicente Del Bosque told Onda Cero after the abrupt announcement yesterday.
In a way, it was the obvious choice due to his knowledge of the club and recent success with a core Los Blancos squad within in the national team but it blindsided even the staunchest of Real fans.
Amid all the intense speculation over who would succeed Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager after his shock resignation a fortnight ago, Lopetegui was barely mentioned within Spanish press.
Mauricio Pochettino, Jürgen Klopp and Guti were among the favourites and their relative merits spawned endless debate.
Then, out of nowhere, all the words spoken and written were rendered meaningless by the surprise revelation that the Spain manager would be taking over at Real after the 2018 World Cup.
While his trophyless stint with FC Porto brings up skepticism about his ability to deal with the rigours of club football, Lopetegui won 53 of 77 games he oversaw while in charge of Porto, a win percentage of just under 69.
However, the following positives clearly outweighed the negatives.
1. Attacking style of play
What could have swayed Florentino Perez towards the 51-year-old was his work with La Roja, his 2012 European Under-19 Championship, and 2013 Under-21 Championship triumphs - which was achieved with fluent attacking football.
2. Early impression and Real influence
Over the past two years with the senior side, Spain have not lost any of his 20 games in charge (W14, D6), while he integrated a new tactical philosophy with the likes of Marcos Asensio, Isco, Lucas Vazquez, Nacho and Dani Carvajal all joining Sergio Ramos as key figures within their new-look side.
3. Development of youth
Los Blancos have recently switched their transfer policy towards young emerging Spanish talent, with Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and Borja Mayoral all awaiting their breakthrough at the club.
His track-record with youth clearly fits into the new direction.