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Porto turn to Lopetegui

FC Porto have appointed Julen Lopetegui, who coached Spain to European Under-19 and U21 glory in the last two years, to the helm on a three-season contract.

Julen Lopetegui at the 2013 U21 finals in Israel
Julen Lopetegui at the 2013 U21 finals in Israel ©Sportsfile

FC Porto have appointed former Spain Under-21 coach Julen Lopetegui to the helm on a three-year contract.

Porto have endured a tough 2013/14 and in March dismissed Paulo Fonseca, with B team coach Luís Castro promoted on an interim basis but unable to avoid exits from the UEFA Europa League, Portuguese Cup and Portuguese League Cup. The Dragons are destined for third place in the Liga after three straight titles. Lopetegui left his role with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) last week, saying: "Another professional opportunity in my life has opened up."

"It is with great pleasure that I present to you our new coach Julen Lopetegui," said club president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa at an Estádio do Dragão press conference. "We have put our total confidence in him and that is why we have signed him for three years, so he can build a solid squad that can give us a bright future."

Lopetegui, whose new club will enter the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League in the play-off round, added: "It is a pleasure and a great honour to be at this club and to defend their magnificent history. We will begin by evaluating what happened this season and only after that we will start taking decisions, but we have a philosophy and we want to pass it to the players. We want to challenge in every competition, in every game. And we want players that share that desire."

Former Real Madrid CF, UD Las Palmas, CD Logroñés, FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid goalkeeper Lopetegui joined the RFEF in 2010 following coaching roles with Real Madrid Castilla and Rayo. He guided Spain to victory at the 2012 UEFA European Under-19 Championship and the 2013 UEFA European U21 Championship.