Uncertainty surrounds the future of Carlo Ancelotti at the Bernabeu, amidst rumours he could depart in the summer.
Following the excellent victory FC Porto enjoyed in midweek, securing a superb Champions League first-leg victory against Bayern Munich, the former Spain Under-21 manager has underlined his credentials, having greatly improved the fortunes of the Portuguese club since he took the helm last summer.
Despite his achievements last season, especially guiding Real Madrid to their elusive 'tenth' European crown, the future of Carlo Ancelotti remains in doubt. Progress in the Champions League again this season is strongly tied to whether the Italian remains at the Bernabeu, leading to thoughts that if his team are eliminated from the competition by Atletico Madrid, his managerial fate will be sealed.
Zinedine Zidane has often been linked as the pretender to the managerial throne, but keen to keep their options open, Lopetegui is also seen as a strong contender. One that already has very good knowledge of Real Madrid.
Lopetegui managed Real Madrid Castilla, the B team, during the 2008-09 season, plus he also acted as coordinator of international scouts. From there, he successfully oversaw trophy winning campaigns with the Spain Under-19's and Under-21's.
Having worked already with some of the best talent Spain has to offer, Lopetegui has firmly stamped his coaching style, whilst also demonstrating his adeptness tactically, with a performance from FC Porto against Bayern Munich which highlighted how well he'd studied Pep Guardiola's seemingly invincible team.
As such, AS has suggested that Lopetegui might be the ideal man when it comes to getting the best out of their array of talented young stars. Players such as Illarramendi and Isco, who he's already worked with at junior levels with Spain, or French international Varane, who has yet to peak with Real Madrid, or even their latest signing Danilo, who he could follow to the Bernabeu.
The Brazilian right-back is perhaps one of the clearest examples, having grown impressively with FC Porto, becoming a firm fixture in his national team, then securing a blockbuster move to Real Madrid.
This leads to the belief that with Lopetegui young players can maximise their potential, making him a very appetising option as a future manager of Real Madrid.