Real Madrid have confirmed that Spain boss Julen Lopetegui will take over as their new manager following the World Cup, much to the relief of Tottenham Hotspur fans.
In the days following Zinedine Zidane’s departure from the Bernabeu, speculation linked Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino with the vacancy.
Real appeared keen to talk to the Argentine, despite the 46-year-old recently signing a five-year contract extension at the North London club.
Madrid were under the impression that Pochettino would be able to leave Tottenham, either because of a clause in his contract or a verbal agreement he had with chairman Daniel Levy.
However, that came to nothing and Los Blancos have instead turned to former Rayo Vallecano and Porto manager Lopetegui to succeed Zidane.
As a former Real Madrid B manager and a man who has not lost a match in charge of Spain, the club will see the 51-year-old as a known quantity and a safe pair of hands.
Journalist Guillem Balague claims Los Blancos were reluctant to negotiate with the Spurs chairman and quickly turned their attentions elsewhere.
“Pochettino, quite clearly, didn’t even have the chance to yes or no because Real Madrid didn’t want to negotiate with Daniel Levy,” he told the Football London website.
Understandably, many Spurs fans have reacted with relief that Pochettino will be staying in North London as one of the sport’s highest profile jobs is no longer available.
— Stian Berglund (@Duffe21) June 12, 2018
— Irish South Bender (@IrishSBender) June 12, 2018
A huge mental battle won by Daniel Levy & @SpursOfficial. Who knows how far @realmadrid we’re prepared to go for Pochettino? Clearly not far enough!! There would have been a time all they needed to do was flutter their eyelashes. NO! NOT this Tottenham, NOT this Levy 👊🏻 #COYS
— Ben Harris (@thisisbenharris) June 12, 2018
— Mike Hill (@MikeTHill89) June 12, 2018
— Harry Hotspur (@HarryHotspurWHL) June 12, 2018
And some have also questioned whether Zidane’s departure may see other players heading out of Madrid, including Gareth Bale.
Some suggest he would prefer to come back to London and play for Spurs under Pochettino, particularly after Lopetegui made comments in 2015 suggesting the Welshman was not fully committed to the Spanish giants.
If it wasn’t Zidane, Lopetegui already showed Bale where is the exit some time ago.
Are United and Spurs checking their balances now? https://t.co/xG4azoy5ow
— Carlos Bustamante (@carlosbuk) June 12, 2018
Looool everybody rejected them and now Lopetegui was the only one left 😂 Hopefully Bale will leave them now after this https://t.co/TJ36GPXL59
— OnomahIsABaller (@SpursD22) June 12, 2018
Who's Gareth Bale going to want to play for?
— Gregor Park (@Gregor_Park) June 12, 2018
Theres a lot of people at Tottenham Hotspur and supporters about to be very happy. Lopetegui said before Bale was a lazy player and wouldn't be in his side. Legend is coming home. COYS
— Steve Betts (@bettssteve) June 12, 2018
However, others do not believe that the new appointment completely rules out the possibility that Pochettino will eventually end up at the Bernabeu.
They feel that Lopetegui will only be in the job for a short while with Tottenham’s current boss replacing him.
Lopetegui’s a stop gap for Pochettino
— Ben Levene (@benlevene96) June 12, 2018
BREAKING: Pochettino in line to replace Logpetgui when sacked by Real Madrid.
— Mr Penguin (@Neutralpengu1n) June 12, 2018