Real Madrid save €2M from Lopetegui sacking

Andre Villas Boas

Spain's national football team Manager Julen Lopetegui has been sacked by the Spanish Football Federation, just one day before the start of the World Cup.

"The future of Julen Lopetegui as Spanish national team manager hangs by a thread", said Madrid-based sports daily Marca.

We wish you the greatest of luck.

His decision to take the job angered senior figures within the Spanish FA, particularly the recently appointed president, Luis Rubiales, who was only made aware a matter of minutes before it was publicly announced by Real.

"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".

"There are those who accuse Rubiales of placing his ego ahead of the interests of the national team".

"Many of the staff are still with us and we've watched videos about the upcoming match, so we have to be intelligent and coherent".

"It was a decision I had to take quickly - it was a case of taking it or walking away, but I couldn't say no".

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Real Madrid, a European club titan that has won the UEFA Champions League in three straight seasons, announced Tuesday that Lopetegui would replace Zinedine Zidane after the World Cup was over.

And, while there will be much anger at the behaviour of Madrid and also Lopetegui, the decision to remove the coach after a two-year process despite the fact he was supported by the players surely leaves Spain much worse off than they would have been had he stayed.

Spain begin their campaign with a clash against Portugal in Sochi on Friday.

For the first time since 2006, there are more players from Madrid in a Spanish squad for a major tournament, with a six-strong Real contingent and just Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets from Barca.

"So if the manager has gone, I'm sure when it comes to going on that field, they will still be playing exactly the same they always have done, they've managed to be successful doing that".

"I've been at all the training sessions, in the day-to-day we've been present and I can't change anything in these two days".

Spain have named Fernando Hierro as Julen Lopetegui's replacement following the new Real Madrid boss' sacking. But he kept on stressing that he had been told just five minutes before the announcement and clearly saw that as a major betrayal from his coach.

Lopetegui was yesterday confirmed as Zinedine Zidane's successor at Real Madrid and was due to step down as Spain boss following this summer's tournament in Russian Federation.

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