He will have a tough act to follow, after Zinedine Zidane won an unprecedented three Champions League titles in a row, as well as a La Liga title, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA World Club Cups during his two years in charge.
He was sacked after just 10 games in charge, and after a spell away from management, he took up a coaching role with Real Madrid Castilla.
Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino had been identified as Real Madrid's primary target but the Argentinean was rendered unattainable having recently signed a new five-year contract.
A trusted youth coach, he has also managed Spain at Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 level, though he failed to win any silverware at FC Porto and was sacked. He then succeeded mentor Vicente Del Bosque in the Spain job following La Roja's early exit at Euro 2016.
The 51-year-old was a goalkeeper in his playing days, and played for both Madrid and Barcelona during his career.
They face a World Cup group containing Iberian rivals Portugal, as well as Morocco and Iran.