Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has been sacked, the Spanish Football Federation has announced.
Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui will become their new manager after the World Cup following Zinedine Zidane’s decision to step down.
But the Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales was apparently not happy with the situation and called for a meeting with Lopetegui this morning.
Spain delayed a press conference at the Krasnodar Stadium by well over an hour before Rubiales announced the decision just two days before Spain’s Group B opener against Portugal.
“We have been forced to dispense with the national coach.
“I know it’s a very difficult situation. I know there’s going to be criticism whatever I do,” RFEF president Luis Rubiales said.
“I’m sure this will, in time, make us stronger. I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision.
“You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision.
Addressing the media in Russia, Rubiales revealed he had only been told of Real’s decision five minutes before they announced Lopetegui’s appointment.
“The negotiation occurred without the RFEF having any information,” Rubiales said. “(We were told) just five minutes before the press release. We have a way of behaving that needs to be adhered to.”
Spain Under-21 manager Albert Celades, who is part of the coaching staff with the senior squad in Russia, and director of football Fernando Hierro are two of the possible replacements as head coach heading into the World Cup.
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) June 13, 2018