Wolverhampton Wanderers Manager - Molineux News


Full Name: Julen Lopetegui Agote
Age: 56
Date Of Birth: August 28, 1966
Height: 6ft
Place Of Birth: Asteasu
Nationality: Spanish

Wolverhampton Wanderers hired Julen Lopetegui as the club’s latest manager in November 2022 to replace Bruno Lage. Wolves chiefs also put the Spaniard in charge at Molineux on a contract to 2025.

The West Midlands outfit appointed Lopetegui to the helm a month after Wolves fired Lage having initially given Steve Davis the reins on an interim basis. Davis was set to remain in charge until 2023, too, as Lopetegui initially rejected the position. But the club revived talks as results did not improve.

Lopetegui eventually oversaw his first game as the manager of Wolves on December 20, 2022 due to the World Cup. While Davis also oversaw matches against Brighton & Hove Albion, Leeds United and Arsenal as their interim head coach, despite the Molineux club having an agreement with Lopetegui.

Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui’s past coaching career

Wolves hired Lopetegui as their latest manager following the longest tenure of the one-cap ex-Spain goalkeeper’s past coaching career. The Asteasu native oversaw 170 games over three years in charge of La Liga side Sevilla. Los Nervionenses also lifted the 2019/20 Europa League title during his tenure.

Lopetegui took over at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium back in July 2019 after taking a spell out of the game following a 14-fixture tenure with Real Madrid. He had never previously managed more than 78 games at a single club. Yet Sevilla kept the tactician for 170, returning 90 wins and 44 draws.

Sevilla also scored 247 goals to 164 conceded under Lopetegui but they parted company in October 2022. Los Nervionenses opted to fire the coach after a run of one win in 10 games to open the term. They had also only scored eight goals to 21 conceded after selling off Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, hired Lopetegui back on June 12, 2018 to replace Zinedine Zidane at their helm. Yet despite the controversial circumstances surrounding his appointment, he only lasted 138 days in charge. The Galacticos called time on his tenure after winning just six of his 14 games there.

Real Madrid angered the RFEF by appointing Lopetegui in 2018

Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Los Blancos had appointed Lopetegui as their manager just days before the 2018 World Cup was due to start. The tactician was also in Russia in charge of the Spain team. But the Royal Spanish Football Federation felt forced to fire Lopetegui having negotiated with Real Madrid without its knowledge.

Lopetegui had only been in charge of the Spanish national team for 20 games since July 2016. While the job had been a long time coming after spells in charge of the Roja U19, 20 and 21 teams. He had also previously coached Real Madrid’s Castilla side before taking over at FC Porto from 2014 to 2016.

Real Madrid had also hired Lopetegui as their head of scouting from 2006 to 2008 following his first coaching role. Rayo Vallecano hired the Spaniard as an assistant coach from 2002 to 2003 after the former goalkeeper called time on his playing career at the Estadio de Vallecas after a five-year stay.

Julen Lopetegui’s coaching career

Wolves (November 2022 – June 2025 expected)

Sevilla (July 2019 – October 2022)

Real Madrid (June 2018 – October 2018)

Spain (July 2016 – June 2018)

FC Porto (July 2014 – January 2016)

U21, Spain (August 2012 – April 2014)

U20, Spain (August 2010 – April 2014)

U19, Spain (August 2010 – May 2013)

Real Madrid Castilla (July 2008 – June 2009)

Rayo Vallecano (assistant manager, July 2002 – June 2003)

Julen Lopetegui’s playing career

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolverhampton Wanderers FC via Getty Images

Wolves manager Lopetegui started his playing career in the academy ranks of Real Sociedad before joining Real Madrid’s Castilla side. He later enjoyed his senior debut while at the Santiago Bernabeu, as well. The first trophy of his career also followed whilst with the Galacticos during the 1988/89 season.

Real Madrid won the Supercopa de Espana for Lopetegui’s first taste of silverware before retaining the title a year later. The 1989/90 campaign also returned his first major title as Lopetegui took a La Liga winner’s medal home. But he only featured once and played after Real Madrid had secured the title.

A move to CD Logrones then followed in 1991 and he remained at the club which dissolved in 2009 until 1994. Yet despite his past allegiances to Real Madrid, the transfer was to FC Barcelona. Camp Nou would be his home for the next three years and see him add another four titles to his cabinet.

Barcelona helped create Lopetegui’s most decorated spell

Barcelona lifted the Supercopa in 1994 and 1996. While Lopetegui also took a winner’s medal from the 1996/97 La Liga and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup campaigns. Yet the Blaugrana’s triumphs were not down to the goalkeeper as he would soon leave for Rayo Vallecano having only featured for them sparingly.

Joining Rayo Vallecano saw Lopetegui get his playing career back on track after three seasons on the bench at Barcelona. He joined the team after they had suffered relegation from La Liga in 1997. But Los Franjirrojos would return to the top-flight in 1999/2000 and stayed in the league until 2003/04.

By then, Lopetegui had already retired having hung up his hoots in 2002 before joining the coaching staff that oversaw Rayo Vallecano’s relegation. While his international playing career only lasted for a year from October 1993 to July 1994. He had also only featured once in a friendly against Croatia.

Javier Clemente called Lopetegui up to a senior Spain squad for the first time in 1993 due to his form with Logrones. Yet while he would also take the goalkeeper to the USA for the 1994 World Cup, their quarter-final exit to Italy marked Lopetegui’s final time making a Roja squad as he sat on their bench.

Julen Lopetegui at Wolves

Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images

Wolves announced Lopetegui as their latest manager on November 5, 2022 with the Molineux outfit 19th in the Premier League. But the club fell to 20th place before he stood in the dugout for the first time. Yet the Spaniard’s tenure has since given the West Midlands natives hope of avoiding the drop.

Lopetegui has also orchestrated wins against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in his debut campaign as the manager of Wolves. The Molineux outfit beat the Reds 3-0, Spurs 1-0 and Blues 1-0 all on home soil. But Liverpool dumped Lopetegui’s Wolves from the FA Cup in a third-round replay.

Yet Lopetegui initially rejected the chance to be the latest manager of Wolves after Molineux chiefs sacked Lage. He chose to turn down the West Midlands outfit because of his father’s ill health. But the club restarted talks to hire the Spaniard whom Wolves’ owners, Fosun, had wanted since 2016.

Fosun identified Lopetegui as their top target after purchasing the club but he took on the Spain job instead. Yet Wolves finally landed the Chinese company’s long-sought target, who had also knocked them out of the Europa League in the 2019/20 quarter-finals en route to that year’s title with Sevilla.