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Reports: Real boss Lopetegui meets with El Tri star Herrera

FC Porto v Desportivo das Aves - Portuguese Super Cup

AVEIRO, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 04: Hector Herrera of FC Porto during the match between FC Porto and Desportivo das Aves for the Portuguese Super Cup at Estadio Municipal de Aveiro on August 4, 2018 in Aveiro, Portugal. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)

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Julen Lopetegui and Hector Herrera have a history, and that may lead Real Madrid to a coup on another Mexican national team star in the tradition of Hugo Sanchez and Javier Hernandez.

Herrera, 28, will be a free agent after the season and has been linked with Tottenham Hotspur, Roma, Inter Milan, and Fulham.

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Yet reports say Real Madrid is in pole position thanks to the relationship between its manager and Porto’s center midfielder, and that the two met in Portugal during the international break (Herrera was one of several key players absent from Mexico and the USMNT for Tuesday’s match in Nashville).

Lopetegui managed Herrera at Porto, where the Mexican remains a fixture in the lineup for Sergio Conceicao. Herrera was signed from Pachuca in 2013, and Lopetegui managed the El Tri star for a year-and-a-half after taking over in 2014.

Herrera is capped 75 times by Mexico and is a complete force in the middle of the park, possibly the most effective club player from a CONCACAF side.

Herrera could help replace Luka Modric and/or Mateo Kovacic, should either player leave Real next summer. Modric was linked with Inter Milan in August, while Kovacic is on loan at Chelsea.

Follow @NicholasMendola