Julen Lopetegui was the best option

Villar managed to take some time out of the comings and goings of his pre-electoral ambitions to have a word with himself and finally reach a decision. For me and numerous others it was a good one: Julen Lopetegui will be the new Spain coach. He’s fifty, a good age, and won the European Under-19 Championships in 2012 and achieved the same feat for the Under-21s in 2013. Clearly he had a good understanding with those players, who followed him and tasted success under him, and they are the new generation coming through to replace the current one, which has been gradually burning out. That is why the appointment has been a shrewd one.

The other names that were flying about seemed poorly considered and even extravagant. Lopetegui has not had a long career in management, but those of us who have come into contact with him have noted a great deal of sense, which is crucial. This could be seen in yesterday’s press conference. There will be an evolution, not a revolution. There were no indiscretions, and even words of affection for Pinto, his former president at Porto, whose behavior towards him left a lot to be desired. In terms of Casillas, we’ll see (Lopetegui knows the level he has been at in recent times better than most); the number nine, we’ll see.

Lopetegui’s name has barely come up because around Villar’s entourage there has been mention of those who leave will not return. Lopetegui left the Federation to fly to Porto, and it was believed that Villar would not forgive and forget. Yet if he did harbour that idea, and I’m sure he did, then he has changed his mind, and in my view for the better. It was the best option. Another thing is what he can do with the players he has at his disposal, which are the ones he had before; not all of them are meeting the expectations set three or four years ago. It won’t be easy, but Lopetegui is the best man for the job.