Current Spain national football team coach Julen Lopetegui will take over as manager of Real Madrid following the 2018 World Cup, the Spanish club announced on Tuesday.
In a statement on its official website, Real Madrid said Lopetegui signed a three-year contract to manage the first team, adding he “will join the club after Spain’s participation in the World Cup.”
The announcement comes after weeks of speculation over who would take over the Madrid hot seat following former manager Zinedine Zidane’s surprise departure earlier this month.
The former French footballer left the club in a shock move after guiding Madrid to three consecutive UEFA Champions League triumphs having managed the club for two and a half seasons.
His decision came after the Spanish club beat English Premier League side Liverpool 3-1 in the May final, becoming the first team in the history of the competition to win the trophy three times in a row.
Lopetegui’s appointment comes as a surprise as other high-profile managers were linked with the Madrid job, including outgoing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Tottenham’s current manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The former Spain international played for Real Madrid between 1988 and 1991 as a goalkeeper but only made one senior league appearance.
The 51-year-old, who has been in charge of the Spanish national team for the past two years, taking over after Euro 2016, will hope he begins his career as Madrid manager on the back of World Cup glory in Russia.
2010 winners Spain start their campaign in Group B against Portugal on June 15 before matches against Tunisia and Iran.