Spanish Football Federation sacks Lopetegui as team's head coach one day before FIFA World Cup

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Today, the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (Royal Spanish Football Federation; RFEF) announced sacking Julen Lopetegui as the manager of Spanish men's national football team. This announcement came just a day after Spanish capital-football club Real Madrid announced reaching an agreement with Lopetegui as club's new head coach after the World Cup ends. This year's FIFA World Cup is to begin from tomorrow.

Yesterday, via their official website, Real Madrid announced Lopetegui to coach the first team for the next three seasons. To manage the national team, Lopetegui should not have a contract with any football club. Speaking at a press conference at Krasnodar, RFEF's head Luis Rubiales said, "I found out five minutes before Real Madrid made the announcement [about Lopetegui]. I asked that nothing was to be done until the team arrives at Krasnodar. But this is not possible" ((es))Spanish language: ‍Me enteré cinco minutos antes que el Real Madrid lo anunciara. Pedí que no se hiciera nada hasta llegar a Krasnodar. Pero no fue posible.

Rubiales said, "I do not feel betrayed. While he has been with us, Lopetegui has done an impeccable job." ((es))Spanish language: ‍No me siento traicionado. Lopetegui, mientras ha estado con nosotros, ha hecho un trabajo impecable. Sporting director Fernando Hierro was named as the national team's new head coach.

Julen Lopetegui was announced La Roja's manager on July 21, 2016. Lopetegui has been in-charge of the national team for 20 matches, winning fourteen and drawing the remaining six. Lopetegui was the manager of Spain's U-19 team from 2010 till 2012. Later, he handled sub-20 before moving to the U-21 team. He has also coached Portuguese club Porto FC.

In the press conference, Rubiales said, "Winning is very important, but there are more important things, like the way of work. So despite Lopetegui being a 'top' coach, we have been forced to make this decision" ((es))Spanish language: ‍Ganar es muy importante, pero hay cosas más importantes aún, como las formas de trabajar. Por ello, pese a que Lopetegui es un entrenador 'top', nos hemos visto obligados a tomar esta decisión.

Spain is scheduled to play their first group stage match against Portugal on Friday in Sochi. On May 22, RFEF announced Lopetegui renewing his contract, extending it to 2020.