Spain manager Julen Lopetegui sacked two days before opening match

Paola Ditto
Giugno 13, 2018

Lopetegui - who previously managed Porto - led his country to 28 points from a possible 30 as they cruised to top spot in their World Cup qualifying group.

"We have made a decision to fire the national coach", Spanish Football Federation president, Luis Rubiales, said.

Hierro dodged a question over whether his former club had acted well in hiring Lopetegui, but ended with a smile when asked if he would take just departed Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane as Spain's next permanent national manager. Rubiales was furious and left his Moscow hotel for the team base in Krasnodar, seemingly with the intention of sacking Lopetegui on the spot.

Rubiales then held meetings with Lopetegui to ascertain how negotiations between his agent and Real Madrid had reached such an advanced stage without the permission of the Spanish FA.

"I've been at all the training sessions, in the day-to-day we've been present and I can't change anything in these two days".

His first task will be to ready the team for their opening game in Sochi on Friday, which will see them take on European champions and Iberian neighbours, Portugal.

Rubiales said the players, who Spanish media said had tried to dissuade him from such drastic action, had vowed to give everything for the team. Lopetegui has done impeccable work.

"The players will do everything in their reach to win the World Cup". "I have spoken with the players and I can guarantee they will do everything, along with the new coach, to take the team as far as possible".

"We are the national team".

Former Spain defender Hierro's only previous senior coaching role was one season with Oviedo in the Spanish second division, although he was also assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid before that. I know there will be criticism but the values of the RFEF are set by the RFEF itself. "When we know we will tell you", Rubiales said.

"I do not feel betrayed, Lopetegui, while he has been with us, has done an impeccable job, another is how this has been done, without knowledge of the federation".

Lopetegui's unceremonious exit resulted from the announcement of his appointment as the next Real Madrid manager on Tuesday. We have been obliged to make this decision.

He stated that the team was in a "very complicated" situation, but that he "trusted in the players".

"I admire Julen a lot, I respect him a lot, I think he's a top trainer and that makes it more hard to make the decision".

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