Spanish football was left reeling this morning after coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked by the Spanish FA just two days before the team make their debut against Portugal at the World Cup. The sacking came in response to the news that Lopetegui would be taking over at Real Madrid after the World Cup, signing a three-year deal with the Spanish giants.
The president of the Spanish FA, Luis Rubiales, has decided to fire Lopetegui given what he feels is a betrayal by the coach, who renewed his contract with the Spanish FA only three weeks ago. Rubiales is now seraching for a replacement for Lopetegui, with Fernando Hierro, Spain's Sporting Director, the most likely replacement.
Rubiales obliged to sack Lopetegui
Rubiales said he had been obliged to sack Julen Lopetegui, although he wished him the best of luck. "Some decisions have to be taken. I don't feel betrayed. While he was working with the Spanish national side his work was impeccable. Another thing is what he's done without the RFEF (the Spanish FA) knowing, while he was working for the RFEF. The way you do things is important. We'll change things as little as possible and as soon as we have something to say, we'll do so".
Upset at Real Madrid's actions
Rubiales had a dig at Real Madrid over their manner of poaching the coach: "If someone wants to start a relationship with someone at the RFEF, they need to talk to that employee and also with the RFEF. It's a basic thing, because this is the team of every Spanish person. A World Cup is the biggest event going. We've now got to focus on the fact that in two days we've got a massive game".
Massive blow to Spain
Rubiales accepted the news was a major blow to Spain, but said, ""as of this afternoon, with the new coach and his staff, we'll move forward."
Lopetegui took Spain to Russia
Spain had a great qualifying campaign under Lopetegui, and confidence was high in the Spain camp ahead of the World Cup, but everyone was left reeling yesterday afternoon when Real Madrid announced the coach would be joing them after the World Cup, to take over from Zinedine Zidane, who announced his shock resignation after winning his third Champions League in charge of Real Madrid.