As the final whistle went off in the Europa League final on Friday in Germany, against Inter Milan, tears of joy trickled down from the face of the Spanish gaffer who was labeled Spanish football public enemy number one. The 54-year-old had just won his first club trophy as a coach with Sevilla as they won their sixth Europa League title.
Julen Lopetegui Agote was a goalkeeper during his playing career were he made over 140 appearances in 11 season for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Rayo Vallecano, Logrones, while he also played 168 matches in the Seconda Division of Spain For three clubs, he also represented Spain in the 1994 World Cup.
Lopetegui started his managerial career in 2003 with the Spanish youth team, leading the Spain U-19 team to a 2012 European Championship title, and a 2013 European title with the U-21 team before he moved to Porto in 2014-2016 where he had an unsuccessful stint in Portugal. He returned to national team duties in 2016 in Spain after Vincente Del Bouquet’s retirement and was in charge of getting the team through to Russia 2018 which he succeeded, but was relieved of his job after he announced that he had signed to Spanish giant Real Madrid days before the commencement of the World Cup and was replaced by former player Fernando Hierro.
His time at the Bernabeu started off on a bad note as he lost his first game against city rival Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup after extra-time, a run of bad results and a 5-1 away loss to Barcelona was the final nail on the coffin as he was sacked a day after with just three months into the job.
Sevilla signed him in June on a three years contract, as he began his journey to redemption. In his first season with Sevilla the club finish fourth on the league table, Sevilla finished top of their Europa League group but struggle with CFR Cluj in the Round of 32 on away goals.
The Round of 16 fixture against Roma was much easier after a 2-0 win, while the dig deep to overcome Wolves in the quarter-final and came from behind to win Manchester United, it took two goals from Luuk de jong and an own goal from Lukaku, despite going behind earlier in the game to come back and win 3-2 as they won their sixth Europa League title, Lopetegui secured his first club title to his name as he climbs the celestial of great coaches to lift the illustrious trophy