The Spanish football federation sacked JulenLopetegui in June 2018 just two days before Spain’s opening game with Portugal after it emerged that he had signed with Real without their knowledge. Photo: Mariscal/EPA

Sevilla said on Tuesday they had signed Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked as Spain coach on the eve of the 2018 World Cup, as manager for the next three seasons.

The 52-year-old, who had been out of work since Real Madrid also fired him at the end of October thanks to a dreadful start to the season, will take over from Joaquin Caparros.

He will be officially unveiled as Sevilla’s new coach on Wednesday, the club said in a statement.

Caparros, who has been diagnosed with chronic leukemia, announced at the end of the season that he would be stepping down.

Sevilla finished sixth in La Liga after three defeats in their final six games ruined their chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

They were knocked out of this season’s Europa League in the last-16 after a surprise 6-5 aggregate defeat by Czech outfit Slavia Prague.

“I think Julen is completely ready to be with us. He’s a football man and will be very involved with the team, the club, with everything,” defender Sergio Escudero told the club’s radio station.

“I think we’re going to learn a lot with all the time he’ll be here. I’m sure he’ll come looking to improve, work hard and to get us as high up the table as possible.” 

Lopetegui’s brief and inglorious reign as Real coach ended in humiliation, as he was fired by the club following a 5-1 loss against arch rivals Barcelona.

His time at the Santiago Bernabeu lasted just 139 days, with his decision to join the club also costing him his job as Spain boss at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

The Spanish football federation sacked Lopetegui in June 2018 just two days before Spain’s opening game with Portugal after it emerged that he had signed with Real without their knowledge.

The former Real Madrid goalkeeper has also coached Rayo Vallecano and Porto at the club level.

AFP