The inside story on Julen Lopetegui's remarkable sacking as Spain coach

Florence Fletcher
June 15, 2018

Lopetegui was announced as Zinedine Zidane's successor in a move that surprised many just days before the World Cup in Russian Federation is due to start.

The Spanish football federation said it dismissed Lopetegui two days before Spain's opening game against Portugal, because the negotiation occurred "without any information" being shared with the organisation.

"We can not alter two years of hard work in the coming days - from now until the Portugal match, we don't have the ability to change much".

The Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales confirmed the sacking at a press conference in the Russian city of Krasnodar, where the team are based, on Wednesday.

The Spanish giants announced that the current Spanish national team boss Julen Lopetegui will take up the role at the Bernabeu after his commitment with them ends after this summer's World Cup in 2018.

Lopetegui signed a deal with Spain until 2020 on May 22 but Real Madrid have swooped for his services and he has agreed to join the Spanish giants after the Russian Federation tournament. I don't feel betrayed.

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The news is a remarkable twist on the eve of the World Cup, with Spain - one of the favourites to lift the trophy prior to this development - due to kick off their campaign against Iberian rivals Portugal on Friday evening.

During this spell, he bagged 31 goals and took part in four World Cups and two European championships.

Rubiales said the players, who Spanish media said had tried to dissuade him from such drastic action, had vowed to give everything for the team. I'm sure this will, over time, make us stronger.

Julen Lopetegui stands by the bench during an global friendly soccer match between Spain and Costa Rica on November 11, 2017. Numerous staff are still with us and we've watched videos about the upcoming match, so we have to be intelligent and coherent. "We only found out just five minutes before that he was leaving for Madrid", he said.

Former goalkeeper Lopetegui spent a season as coach of Real's B-team Castilla from 2008-09 before taking over as Spain Under-19 manager in 2010.

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