Julen Lopetegui Profile
|Born||Aug 28, 1966|
After a playing career as a goalkeeper, Julen Lopetegui has occupied the hot seat at all levels of club and international management. But the Europa League is his only major trophy as a head coach.
Lopetegui played over a hundred games for both Logrones and Rayo Vallecano, as well as a handful of games for Barcelona, Real Madrid, Las Palmas and Castilla.
He also gained one international cap for Spain in a friendly defeat to Croatia, and was selected for Spain's 1994 World Cup squad, but didn't play a match.
Since hanging up his gloves, Lopetegui has had somewhat of an unsettled managerial career, hopping between clubs and country. He has managed from the youth levels of the Spanish national team all the way to the European Giants of Real Madrid.
He started his managerial career with Rayo Vallecano although, he was sacked just 10 games into the season after a poor string of results. He then took a head coach hiatus for the next five years and became a TV commentator.
After his venture into journalism, he managed the majority of Spain's youth teams, until 2014 when he joined Porto, taking them to quarter finals of the Champions League.
He was handed the reins of the Spanish national team in July 2016, but despite qualifying for the 2018 World Cup he was sacked on the eve of the tournament after being named as the new Real Madrid boss.
His stay at Madrid was incredibly brief, but he returned to management with Sevilla and guided them to the Europa League title.
Lopetegui was sacked by Sevilla in October 2022 and moved to Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers in November.
The start of Lopetegui's managerial career
In 2003, Lopetegui made his first steps in coaching as assistant manager for Spain's Under-17 team during the European Championship.
His first full time role as a manager came for his old club Rayo Vallecano who, at the time, were in the second division of Spanish football.
However, his stint at Rayo didn't last long as he was sacked just 10 games into the season. After Lopetegui left, the team were relegated to the third division.
Lopetegui decided to leave management and went into commentary for the next five years.
However, the Asteasu-born manager was lured back into a management in 2008 as head coach of Real Madrid B. He stayed in charge there for just a year and then moved to the Spanish youth team set-up from 2010-2014.
During his time coaching Spain's youth teams, he won two European Championships, one with the Under-19s in 2012 and the other with the Under-21s in 2013.
Lopetegui and Porto
In the summer of 2014, Lopetegui returned to club management with Portuguese giants Porto.
During his first transfer window, he signed seven Spanish players and was handed the largest transfer budget in the club's history.
He managed to lead Porto to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in his first season - but failed to win any silverware.
The Dragons finished runners-up in his first season in charge in 2014/15 and missed out on any domestic cups, which for a club the size of Porto is rare.
He was sacked in the January of the following season after losing to C.S. Maritimo in the Portuguese League Cup and with the club in third place in the league.
Return to international management
Lopetegui's good work the Spain youth teams helped him secure the role as head coach of the national team in July 2016, replacing the retired World Cup and European Championship winner Vicente Del Bosque. Lopetegui had huge shoes to fill.
He helped the national team qualify for the 2018 World Cup after going unbeaten in all 10 group games.
As the team arrived in Russia, there was a surprising announcement that Lopetegui would take over as Real Madrid manager after Spain's World Cup campaign.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation were not best pleased with the news so close to the start of the World Cup and promptly sacked Lopetegui, replacing him with caretaker manager Fernando Hierro who took them as far as the round of 16.
Lopetegui's move to Real Madrid
Lopetegui arrived at Real Madrid under a cloud, and it didn't get much better after that.
He lost his first match in charge 4-2 to their arch-rivals Atletico Madrid in the 2018 UEFA Super Cup, and won only six of the next 14 games.
A 5-1 away defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico in October 2018, sealed his fate and he was sacked the next day.
It was the shortest stint of Lopetegui's managerial career.
Staying close in Sevilla
Almost a year after his disastrous spell at Real Madrid, Lopetegui was appointed as the manager of Sevilla, signing an initial three-year contract.
His first season was much more successful than anticipated as Sevilla claimed a fourth placed finish, 10 points ahead Villareal and lifted his first major honour.
The Covid-19 delayed Europa League final saw Sevilla beat Inter Milan 3-2 in Cologne, returning the trophy to club who had won it three times in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Sevilla finished fourth again in Lopetegui's second season in 2020/21, but despite signing a new two-year extension to his contract in January he was sacked in October after a bad run of results.
Wolves finally get their man
Lopetegui was linked with Wolves back in 2016, before taking the Spain national job.
With Bruno Lage getting the boot from Wolves in October, Lopetegui finally took the Molineux hot seat in November 2021 and won his first match in charge - a Carabao Cup tie over League Two Gillingham.
Lopetegui is married to Rosa Maqueda and the couple have three children.
Lopetegui's net worth is estimated to be around $45m.