Lopetegui's playing career included a spell at Real, although he made just one appearance and was mainly loaned out to Las Palmas. Spain memorably followed up their 2010 win by going straight out of the group stages. "We had to react, I know that whatever I do I will be criticised, I accept that".
"The RFEF, the national team, is the team of every Spaniard and there are decisions that have to be taken".
Lopetegui's first job will surely be to communicate with the pair and understand their thinking. We will touch the staff as little as possible, as soon as we have something to communicate, we will do it. I have a very close relationship with the players, as with Julen, it's a very complex situation, the most complex one I could find. Lopetegui was sacked by Porto the following January after a string of poor results. Enter Iago Aspas, a unique backup solution in case Diego Costa's World Cup struggles continue. He was rewarded with a two-year extension in May and had been under contract until 2020.
Generally, and sensibly, considered to be the best goalkeeper win the world at the moment, De Gea was handed his first cap by Vincent Del Bosque, but has enjoyed a much more productive relationship with Julen Lopetegui.
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"It's the Spanish team". It has not lost a match since a 2-0 defeat against Italy in the round of 16 of the European Championships, nearly two full years ago. But, above everything, is acting in the right way.
Nainggolan is renowned for the quality of his passing and the consistency of his play and is widely regarded as being one of the leading central midfielders in Serie A. He also possesses an abundance of experience at international level and was part of the Belgian squad that competed at Euro 2016. The Elo ratings certainly appear to think so.
Instead, Lopetegui provides his players with a clear structure but one within which they have the freedom to express themselves.
This year, things are very different. No other team in the top five can match that. We have been forced to act.
"The news hit me like a bullet", wrote Alfredo Relano, editor of sports daily AS. Either or both could now take charge of Friday evening's game in Sochi against Portugal.