Monday, 17 December, 2018

Spain fired its coach two days before first World Cup game

Julen Lopetegui has signed a three-year contract with Real Madrid Julen Lopetegui has signed a three-year contract with Real Madrid
Frederick Owens | 14 June, 2018, 07:26

On Wednesday, two days before the team's debut, the Spanish federation fired coach Julen Lopetegui after he agreed to become Real Madrid's head coach.

Earlier in the day, Spain delayed a press conference at the same venue by well over an hour before Rubiales announced he had dismissed Lopetegui - pointing the finger of blame at Real Madrid, rather than the outgoing coach.

Rubiales said the firing was needed because the federation was caught by surprise over Lopetegui's decision to take over as Real Madrid's coach.

"The negotiation has happened without any information to the RFEF, just five minutes before the press release".

"We can not alter two years of hard work in the coming days".

He said: "I'm very sad but we're hoping that we can win the World Cup". Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger.

Real Madrid, a European club titan that has won the UEFA Champions League in three straight seasons, announced Tuesday that Lopetegui would replace Zinedine Zidane after the World Cup was over.

"There's a lot to do".

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The national team's sporting director, and former Spain captain, Fernando Hierro now takes over on an interim basis for the World Cup and he is likely to be assisted by Under-21 boss Albert Celades out in Russian Federation.

The national team is the most important we have, the World Cup is the biggest of all.

Sergio Ramos was the first Spain player to speak up. I know there's going to be criticism whatever I do.

In a brief statement to announce the appointment, the Madrid giants said Lopetegui had been appointed on a three-year contract.

And he may hold his first press conference at 5.30pm BST, while the first game of the World Cup between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia is still being played.

On his talk with the players, he added: "I told them that this isn't justification not to compete for our objectives at the World Cup".

Lopetegui is one of very few players to feature for both Real Madrid and Barcelona in his club career, and coached Los Blancos' B team around a decade ago. But he kept on stressing that he had been told just five minutes before the announcement and clearly saw that as a major betrayal from his coach.

"We didn't argue, but I made him see how things were".

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