Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as the Spain manager just two days before Spain kicks off their World Cup against Portugal in Sochi, just one day after agreeing to take over Real Madrid.
Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales said that Lopetegui had sealed his fate as soon as he told the RFEF that he would be taking over Real Madrid. ”We have been obliged to fire the national coach,” Rubiales said Wednesday. “We wish him the best, he has done an excellent job in getting us to the tournament. But the federation cannot be left outside the negotiation of one of its employees, and find out just five minutes before a public announcement. If anybody wants to talk to one of our employees, they have to speak to us, too. That is basic, as this is the team of all Spaniards. The national team is the most important we have; the World Cup is the biggest of all.”
Rubiales said that the conduct of Lopetegui and Real Madrid did not befit those who take part in Spanish football. He felt that he had to dismiss Lopetegui as a matter of principal as the negotiations took place behind the back of the RFEF. The players, led by national team captain Sergio Ramos, were in favor of Lopetegui staying for the duration of the World Cup, but Rubiales avoided questions concerning whether he took their advice before he made his decision.
Director of football, Fernando Hierro, former Spain and Real Madrid defender, will take over the national team for the World Cup. Many feel that the sacking has taken Spain from a World Cup favorite to a team that exits early in the tournament. Spain kicks off their World Cup in Sochi on Friday against Portugal.