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Spain manager Lopetegui sacked a day before World Cup 2018

14 June 2018

With only two days to go before Spain's opening match at the World Cup, Julen Lopetegui was sacked as national team coach after accepting a job to lead Real Madrid next season.

Rubiales was furious with Lopetegui for talking to Real Madrid before the World Cup and then by the announcement from the reigning European champions that they had appointed the former Porto boss as their new coach.

Earlier, Real Madrid said in a statement: "Real Madrid C.F. announce that Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of the first team during the next three seasons".

"I would sign for it", he said.

"We have a great opportunity and that should be the focus".

The surprise news of Lopetegui's appointment as Zinedine Zidane's successor at Real Madrid took the Spanish FA by surprise on Tuesday, as they were unaware that their head coach was staging talks with Bernabeu chiefs.

"He told us five minutes before the press release", Rubiales said.

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"I don't feel betrayed, the problem is that things have been done with the complete absence of the RFEF, which is something (we) can not let go by".

As it goes, the man who will take charge of the team while in Russian Federation will be Fernando Hierro (one of Zidane's former Real Madrid teamates). Former Real captain Fernando Hierro, now Spain's sporting director, is also said to be in the frame. "We have been compelled to make this decision". Now it will proceed with a void at the top, with Lopetegui's replacement yet to be determined. There has to be a clear message.

But now, several outlets, including Spanish publication Footbal Espana are reporting that Spain are considering sacking the 51-year-old.

Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Pepe Reina, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets are reported to have accompanied Ramos to the emergency meeting in a last-ditch attempt at convincing the federation to keep Lopetegui in his position. "Our responsibility and commitment is to you. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, together".

Because he was sacked, Madrid won't have to pay the 2 million euros ($2.3 million) of the termination clause on Lopetegui's contract.

"The key is to change as little as possible", Hierro told a news conference on Wednesday.

"I do not feel betrayed because Julen has done a relentless job, but we are forced to move on this because of how things have been done".

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Hierro was to lead his players for the first time in a practice session later Wednesday. He previously was an assistant coach at Real Madrid and manager of Spanish second-division club Real Oviedo.

Hierro, a victor of five La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions Leagues in a glittering Madrid career, is relatively inexperienced as a coach. Rubiales repeatedly dodged questions over whether he had taken their advice before making the decision to fire the coach.

Lopetegui's forays into club management have been less successful.

The World Cup in Russian Federation starts on Thursday.

But Benitez has commented on the prospect of taking the Spanish job in the past.

And RFEF president Rubiales was understandably livid at a press conference: 'I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. We have a way of behaving that needs to be adhered to.

Spain begin their World Cup campaign against Portugal on Friday in a match live on BBC One (19:00 BST kick-off).

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After shocking everyone to win the European Championship...

Spain manager Lopetegui sacked a day before World Cup 2018