The shocking announcement comes exactly a day after Real Madrid announced that Julen Lopetigui would succeed Zidane as their new head coach
Spain's football federation on Wednesday announced that Julen Lopetegui has been relieved of his duties as Spain manager. The news comes just two days before Spain’s first game of the World Cup and in the wake of Real Madrid announcing that Lopetigui would be taking over as the club's manager after the World Cup.
Lopetegui had agreed to a three-year deal with Real Madrid, which will see him succeed Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu. Lopetegui had recently signed a new deal with Spain on May 22 extending his contract until 2020.
The Spanish Football Association president, Luis Rubiales, was said to be fuming after the announcement only learning about it 15 minutes before Real made it public. Rubiales who was scheduled to attend FIFA’s congress in Moscow on Wednesday, instead flew to Spain’s training camp late on Tuesday night to address the issue.
It is believed that a contingent of players led by Captain Sergio Ramos were against the move and wanted Lopetegui to continue at least until the World Cup. However, Spanish FA president was staunch in following through on his decision.
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Explaining the decision, Luis Rubiales said: “We have decided to fire the national coach. What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck. The Spanish national team is the team of all the Spaniards. We only found out just five minutes before that he was leaving for Madrid. There is a way that you must act, Julen has worked in a great way with the team, but we cannot accept how he has acted in this case.”
Spain play their first Group stage match against Portugal on Friday. The Spanish FA has announced that technical director Fernando Hierro will take charge of the Spanish football team for the duration of the World Cup.Update - The story has been updated with the latest developments