The 51-year-old took charge of Spain after Euro 2016 - and signed a new extension until 2020 just last month - but the appointment means the impending World Cup in Russian Federation will be his only major tournament in charge of the national team.
Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale is a long time Manchester United transfer target, so today's headline news emerging from the Santiago Bernabeu has naturally invited more speculation about his future.
"Julen Lopetegui will join the club after the participation of the Spanish team in the World Cup, after two years of leading the national team". And as they had hoped, the European champions have announced the Frenchman's successor ahead of this summer's World Cup.
According to the same story, Zinedine Zidane's decision to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season has heightened Bale's chances of staying at the club.
La Roja kick off their campaign against Portugal on Friday and this news will now dominate all the pre-match and pre-tournament talk in the Spain camp.
Lopetegui took over Spain in July 2016 after Vicente del Bosque retired from the role.
Some commentators have defended the timing of Lopetegui's appointment but others believe it will put a strain on relationships between Real Madrid and Barcelona players in the squad.
He previously managed Porto and the Spanish underage teams.