Spain sack national coach Julen Lopetegui before start of World Cup

The Real Madrid job was seen as one of the most coveted jobs since the sudden departure of Zinedine Zidane after winning the Champions League.

At a press conference, Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales said the federation was "forced" to sack Lopetegui after it found out about his appointment five minutes before the announcement was made.

Former Real Madrid star Hierro has been working in the Spanish national team set-up since his appointment as sporting director last November, with the move to appoint him as Lopetegui's replacement created to dilute the confusion around the squad.

Head of the Spanish FA, Luis Rubiales: said: 'Hierro told me he is ready to help Spain, he's been very generous, I want to thank him for that. There is a way of acting that must be fulfilled.

Spain are giving serious thought to sacking their head coach Julen Lopetegui less than 24 hours until the start of the World Cup. I told them we have an exciting challenge in front of us, and we can not let this affect our focus. [However], this has been done without knowledge of the RFEF.

"We are going to touch as little as possible".

"I've a very close relationship with the players, also with Julen", he said. "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 [at this World Cup]".

Already part of the backroom staff in Russian Federation, he is understood to have a good relationship with the squad, and as an 89-cap veteran of the national team nobody can suggest he does not know how tournament football works.

Until Tuesday, Spain, together with Germany and Brazil, had been one of the favorites to the win the World Cup. "We have been compelled to make this decision".

"I admire and respect Lopetegui a lot".

"I wasn't losing any sleep regarding a new contract as we all know that football is uncertain".

Former Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez, for example, has openly criticised the coach and applauded the decision taken by the RFEF.

Rubiales then held meetings with Lopetegui to ascertain how negotiations between his agent and Real Madrid had reached such an advanced stage without the permission of the Spanish FA.

There were also rumours the team's senior players, including captain Sergio Ramos, had called for the former Porto coach to stay in charge for the tournament.

"The team will do everything to get the best results, we can not talk about hypothesis, but the RFEF can not find out five minutes before it becomes public".

"The coach, while he is a RFEF employee can not do things in this way".

"The RFEF can not stay on the margin of the contractual situation of one of its workers", he said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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