Julen Lopetegui was sacked as the head coach of the Spanish national football team a day before the 2018 FIFA World Cup gets underway in Russia, Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales said Wednesday.
Rubiales spoke at a press conference in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, where Spain will be based during the tournament.
The shock announcement comes a day after Lopetegui was named as Real Madrid’s new manager, replacing Zinedine Zidane. The news reportedly angered the president of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales, who found the timing of Lopetegui’s announcement to be inappropriate.
Rubiales flew back from the FIFACongress in Moscow on Tuesday night to Krasnodar, where the Spanish team is based. According to the media outlet Marca, Rubiales feels "betrayed" by Lopetegui and he was furious that Madrid confirmed the appointment of their new manager.
Multiple reports suggested that after arriving in Krasnodar, Rubiales demanded Lopetegui be sacked, but other members of Spain’s Football Federation tried to calm the situation down.
“We have been forced to dispense with the national coach. We wish him the greatest of luck,” said Rubiales.
He added that the negotiations have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and that they were informed just five minutes before the press release.
Speaking about who will be taking over, Rubiales said, "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. To win is very important, to have the best coach very important, but above everything is acting in the right way. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger."
Lopetegui signed a contract extension with the Spanish Football Federation less than a month ago which keeps him as the head coach of the national team until after Euro 2020.
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