A former goalkeeper, Julen Lopetegui was a member of Spain’s squad at the 1994 World Cup. After hanging up his gloves, he moved into coaching and was an assistant with Spain’s U17 team that finished as runners up in the 2003 UEFA European U17 Championship. After the tournament, he started working as a manager in his own right, enjoying his first spell as a head coach at his former club, Rayo Vallecano, in the second tier of Spanish football.
After a stint working as a football pundit, he returned to coaching in 2008, this time with Real Madrid Castilla, the B team of the Madrid giants. Another of his former clubs, they were in the third tier of Spanish football at the time. He subsequently worked with Spain’s national youth teams, holding this role from 2010 to 2014. This proved to be a golden period that saw him win both the 2012 European U19 Championship and the 2013 European U21 Championship.
In May 2014 he relocated to Portugal to take charge of Porto and in his first season Lopetegui led the team to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
He became manager of Spain’s senior national team in 2016 and in a two-year period he led the team on a 20-game unbeaten run before leaving to take charge of Real Madrid in July 2018.
He was appointed manager of Sevilla in June 2019 and led the club to a Europa League title in his first season in charge. In his second season, Julen and his team achieved their best score in the history of the league, being the only coach in the history of Sevilla to have achieved qualification for the UEFA Champions League for two consecutive years through La Liga.