Friday, 20 July, 2018

Real Madrid announce Lopetegui as new manager

David de Gea Spain 2018 Getty Images
Kristopher Love | 13 June, 2018, 23:15

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.

On Wednesday, Spain delayed a press conference at the Krasnodar Stadium by well over an hour before Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales announced the decision.

"I think Rubiales acted correctly and was looking out for the federation, which should be above any single individual", Hernandez told sports daily Marca.

On being questioned regarding who will be stepping up to take the reigns as the Spain coach in the World Cup, Rubiales said, "We are going to touch as little as possible".

"It's a hard situation, but we are not the ones who determined the action that had to be taken". We have been forced to make this decision.

The announcement comes just three days before Spain plays its first match in the upcoming Russian World Cup 2018.

"There's a lot to do". Last month, Lopetegui agreed to extend his contract with the national team through 2020.

Either or both could now take charge of Friday evening's game in Sochi against Portugal.

"I don't want to get into how Real Madrid should go about things".

The decision to remove Lopetegui appears to be at odds with how senior members of the national team feel.

"Fernando Hierro will assume coaching responsibilities at the World Cup in Russia", the Spanish football federation announced. The 1998 World Cup had seen three managerial casualties in the form of Henryk Kasperczak, Carlos Alberto Parreira and Cha Bum-kun, then coaches of Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, respectively.

Despite a clear desire from the players to keep Lopetegui, Hierro insisted he had the full backing of the team and is confident they will give their all to do the nation proud in Russian Federation.

Six of Spain's 23 players in Lopetegui's World Cup squad are Real stars, and the former Spain U19, U20 and U21 coach has also worked with a few of the club's younger players, such as Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and Borja Mayoral, at youth level.

We wish you the greatest of luck.

Although Lopetegui has done well with the Spanish national team, amassing their second-longest unbeaten streak of 20 games, he has limited experience at club level.

Lopetegui was announced as the new Real Madrid boss on Tuesday, taking over from departed Zinedine Zidane after the tournament.

Rubiales accused Lopetgui of betraying the federation's values.