Spain sack Julen Lopetegui one day before World Cup
Spain sack Julen Lopetegui one day before World Cup
Portugal vs Spain
13 June, 2018, 23:16
Just weeks after taking over as the president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF), Rubiales was announcing the sacking of national team coach Julen Lopetegui. "I know there's going to be criticism whatever I do", said RFEF president Luis Rubiales, who was told of Lopetegui's new role five minutes before it was announced.
"I'm sure this will, in time, make us stronger".
"There are decisions that we are obliged to take based on an understanding of how you should behave and on ethics", Rubiales said. One was to say no, one was to leave, the third was to be present, to take a step forward for the Spanish FA and Spanish football'.
Lopetegui was appointed Spain's coach in July 2016 and never tasted defeat in the job, leading the team through 20 unbeaten games ahead of the World Cup. Lopetegui had recently signed a new deal with Spain on May 22 extending his contract until 2020.
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.
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The 50-year-old's only previous coaching experience came at second division Oviedo, but he believes the players are ready to put the change behind them and focus on winning a second World Cup starting against European champions Portugal in Sochi. I told them we have an exciting challenge in front of us, and we can not let this affect our focus.
"The values of the national team are above everything", he said on Twitter.
The decision, made one day before the World Cup begins, sent shockwaves through the footballing world. We know we must compete - three games to continue in the World Cup.
Lopetegui, unbeaten in 20 games as coach, winning 14 and drawing six, was sacked after being named as Real Madrid coach on Tuesday.
Spanish newspaper AS claim Lopetegui could now be unveiled at the Bernabeu as early as Thursday afternoon.
"I admire and respect Lopetegui a lot". Rubiales repeatedly dodged questions over whether he had taken their advice before making the decision to fire the coach. Rubiales said that although the federation's financial situation was not ideal, money was "not the most important thing in a moment like this".
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