Julen Lopetegui Argote (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈʝulen lopeˈteɣi aɾˈɣote]; born 28 August 1966) is a Spanish former footballer who played as a goalkeeper, and is a manager.
He played 149 games in La Liga over 11 seasons, appearing in the competition for Real Madrid, Logroñés, Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano. He added 168 matches in Segunda División with three clubs, and represented Spain at the 1994 World Cup.
Lopetegui started working as a manager in 2003, and spent several years in charge of Spain's youth teams, leading the under-19 and under-21 sides to European titles. He was also head coach of the senior team for two years, being dismissed before the start of the 2018 World Cup following the announcement of his agreement to join Real Madrid after the tournament.
Born in Asteasu, Gipuzkoa, Lopetegui started his professional career at local Real Sociedad, where he was barred by legendary Luis Arconada. In 1985, he accepted an offer from Real Madrid, which immediately incorporated the 19-year-old to its B-team.
After a loan spell at UD Las Palmas Lopetegui returned, but could never dislodge another veteran, Francisco Buyo, only managing one La Liga appearance during two seasons, a 3–3 away draw against Atlético Madrid as Real were already crowned league champions. He subsequently signed with CD Logroñés, being instrumental as the modest Riojan club consistently managed to retain its top flight status.
As Andoni Zubizarreta left for Valencia CF in 1994, Lopetegui joined FC Barcelona, battling – and losing – for first-choice status with longtime understudy Carles Busquets. After the Catalans bought FC Porto's Vítor Baía he was further demoted to third-string, and returned to Madrid with Rayo Vallecano, being a starter in two of his five seasons (although he still managed 36 league appearances from 1999 to 2002, with Rayo always in the top division, as he retired subsequently).
Lopetegui's performances at Logroñés earned him his sole cap with Spain, coming on as a substitute for Zubizarreta for the final 30 minutes of a 0–2 friendly loss with Croatia in Valencia, on 23 March 1994. He was subsequently picked for the squad at that year's FIFA World Cup.
Lopetegui was one of Spain coach Juan Santisteban's assistants at the 2003 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. After the tournament, he had his first head coaching spell at Rayo, with the club in the second level, being sacked after the tenth match of the 2003–04 campaign, which ended in relegation to division three; after working as a sports commentator, including for laSexta in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he returned to coaching, with a side he represented in the 1980s, Real Madrid Castilla, now in the third tier.
From 2010 to 2014, Lopetegui worked with the Spanish youth teams, winning the 2012 European Under-19 Championship and the 2013 Under-21 Championship. He left the Royal Spanish Football Federation on 30 April 2014, following the expiration of his contract.
Lopetegui returned to club duties on 6 May 2014, being appointed at Portugal's FC Porto. He signed seven Spanish players to the club that summer.
In his first season at the Estádio do Dragão, with the club's biggest budget ever, Lopetegui led them to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, where they equalled the club's biggest defeat in European competitions losing 6–1 against FC Bayern Munich (having lost by the same score to AEK Athens FC in 1978). He failed to win any silverware, contributing to the longest drought during Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa's presidency.
On 8 January 2016, after a 1–3 home loss to C.S. Marítimo in the Taça da Liga, as Porto had already been eliminated from the Champions League and was ranked third in the domestic league after an away loss and a home draw, Lopetegui was relieved of his duties, being replaced by Rui Barros. One week later, the club announced that it had terminated the former's contract unilaterally.
Spain and Real Madrid
On 21 July 2016, after being strongly linked to English side Wolverhampton Wanderers which was under new ownership, Lopetegui was announced as the new manager of the Spain national team following Vicente del Bosque's retirement. In his first match in charge, on 1 September, he led them to a 2–0 friendly victory over Belgium at the King Baudouin Stadium; the nation qualified for the 2018 World Cup, winning nine and drawing one of their group matches.
On 12 June 2018, with the team already in Russia for the tournament, it was announced that Lopetegui would take over as the head coach of Real Madrid on a three-year contract after the conclusion of Spain's involvement at the World Cup. The following day, he was dismissed from his job with the national team and replaced by Fernando Hierro.
Lopetegui's first competitive game in charge took place on 15 August 2018, in a 2–4 loss against Atlético Madrid for the UEFA Super Cup after extra time. Following a string of bad results and, ultimately, a 5–1 away defeat to Barcelona in El Clásico on 28 October, he was relieved of his duties a day later and replaced by Santiago Solari.
- La Liga: 1989–90
- Supercopa de España: 1994, 1996
- FIFA World Youth Championship runner-up: 1985
- UEFA European Under-19 Championship: 2012
- UEFA European Under-21 Championship: 2013
- As of match played 28 October 2018
|Rayo Vallecano||1 July 2003||3 November 2003||7001110000000000000♠11||7000200000000000000♠2||7000200000000000000♠2||7000700000000000000♠7||7001100000000000000♠10||7001170000000000000♠17||−7||07001181800000000000♠18.18|
|Real Madrid B||1 July 2008||30 June 2009||7001380000000000000♠38||7001180000000000000♠18||7000900000000000000♠9||7001110000000000000♠11||7001600000000000000♠60||7001450000000000000♠45||+15||07001473700000000000♠47.37|
|Spain U19||1 August 2010||30 May 2013||7001110000000000000♠11||7000800000000000000♠8||7000300000000000000♠3||5000000000000000000♠0||7001290000000000000♠29||7000900000000000000♠9||+20||07001727300000000000♠72.73|
|Spain U20||1 August 2010||30 April 2014||7001100000000000000♠10||7000700000000000000♠7||7000200000000000000♠2||7000100000000000000♠1||7001220000000000000♠22||7000800000000000000♠8||+14||07001700000000000000♠70.00|
|Spain U21||8 August 2012||30 April 2014||7001110000000000000♠11||7001110000000000000♠11||5000000000000000000♠0||5000000000000000000♠0||7001340000000000000♠34||7000700000000000000♠7||+27||7002100000000000000♠100.00|
|Porto||1 July 2014||7 January 2016||7001770000000000000♠77||7001530000000000000♠53||7001150000000000000♠15||7000900000000000000♠9||7002157000000000000♠157||7001520000000000000♠52||+105||07001688300000000000♠68.83|
|Spain||21 July 2016||13 June 2018||7001200000000000000♠20||7001140000000000000♠14||7000600000000000000♠6||5000000000000000000♠0||7001610000000000000♠61||7001130000000000000♠13||+48||07001700000000000000♠70.00|
|Real Madrid||1 July 2018||29 October 2018||7001140000000000000♠14||7000600000000000000♠6||7000200000000000000♠2||7000600000000000000♠6||7001210000000000000♠21||7001200000000000000♠20||+1||07001428600000000000♠42.86|