This morning, reports began to surface that the soon-to-be Real boss would be axed by the Spanish FA (RFEF) just two days before their opening World Cup match against Portugal.
This news came after Real Madrid announced Lopetegui’s appointment as Zinedine Zidane’s replacement on Tuesday, much to the anger of the Spanish FA and president Luis Rubiales, who was said to be “furious” and “deeply upset”.
The RFEF was caught completely unaware, the news coming only 21 days after Lopetegui had put pen to paper on a new contract until 2020.
Much-fancied Spain begin their World Cup campaign against Portugal on Friday night and this morning Radio Marca said all the signs pointed to Lopetegui not being in charge for that match.
The head coach and president were due to appear at a press conference at the Krasnodar Stadium at 9.30am BST but it was delayed amid reports the national team head coach would be leaving his post immediately.
Stories then started to emerge that Lopetegui would remain manager for the duration of the World Cup after the players – led by Sergio Ramos – tried to arrange an intervention and demanded that he stay.
It proved to be too little too late, though, with Rubiales saying: “We have been forced to dispense with the national coach.”
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.
“The Spain team is the team of all Spaniards. You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been obliged to make this decision.”
Spain have confirmed that director of football Fernando Hierro will now take charge of the national team at the World Cup.
Former Spain and Real Madrid captain Hierro will be presented to the press at the Krasnodar Stadium later today before getting to work in his new post.
“Fernando Hierro will assume the position of national coach in the World Championship of Russia and will appear before the media accompanied by the president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales,” a short statement on the federation’s website read.
“Next, he will direct his first training and on Friday he will debut in Sochi at the match of Spain against Portugal.”
Spain captain Ramos indicated the team were ready to move on from the disruption to their preparation.
He wrote on Twitter: “We are the squad, we represent a shield, colours, supporters, a country. The responsibility and commitment are with you and for you. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, together: #VamosEspana (Let’s go, Spain).”
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