One day after being named Real Madrid’s new coach, Julen Lopetegui has been sacked by the Spanish FA just a day before the start of the World Cup.
The European champions announced that Lopetegui would fill the role left vacant by Zinedine Zidane after the World Cup. The negotiations, however, took place without the knowledge of the Spanish FA president, Luis Rubiales.
Speaking at a press conference announcing Lopetegui’s sacking on Wednesday, Rubiales said, ‘We have decided to fire the national coach [Lopetegui]. What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck.
‘The negotiations have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and we were informed just five minutes before the press release. There’s a way to act that needs to be fulfilled.’
This was the reasoning behind Rubiales’ decision to sack the coach despite the players calling him to stay for the duration of the tournament.
‘Real Madrid look for the best coach, that is fine by me. I have no opinion about how Real Madrid act. But the federation has an obligation to represent all Spaniards.
‘If anybody wants to talk to one of our employees, they have to speak to us too. That is basic, as this is the team of all Spaniards. The national team is the most important we have, the World Cup is the biggest of all.’
Speaking on who would take the reins of the side for the World Cup, the president said, ‘We are going to touch as little as possible. We are working on it. When we know, we will tell you.’
‘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 [at this WC],’ he added.
Spain will take on Portugal on Friday evening, with kick-off at 8pm.