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Spain manager Julen Lopetegui sacked two days before opening match

14 Juin 2018

"We want to thank Julen for all he's done and he's a big reason behind us being in Russian Federation, but we feel obliged to dispense with his services", said Rubiales.

The Spanish FA felt Lopetegui acted unprofessionally for agreeing a deal to join Real Madrid after the World Cup ends in July - so it fired him.

He was waved off by a number of Spain's coaching team, though three will follow him to Real: Assistant Pablo Sanz, fitness coach Oscar Garro and mental coach Juan Carlos Alvarez Campillo.

Federation president Luis Rubiales said in a press conference that Lopetegui's behavior was one of the reasons for getting rid of him.

Part of his success was blending in younger talents like Francisco "Isco" Alarcon, Marco Asensio and Rodrigo Moreno into a squad led by veterans Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and David Silva. "Only they can put out this fire. I will look to continue the improvements that we began four years ago, alongside [Beppe] Marotta, [Fabio] Paratici, [Pavel] Nedved and the president". He said that winning was important but not as much as maintaining the federation's values. "It was a surprise for everyone, but Rubiales reacted very well".

Hierro was formerly a defender for Real Madrid and finished playing soccer with the English club Bolton in 2005.

"I'm very sad but hoping that we can win the World Cup".

"I am here to say that we feel obliged to sack the national team manager", said Rubiales. "We have been compelled to act".

"We are the national team. We represent this emblem, these colors, our fans, a country", the Spain captain wrote on Twitter. "Our responsibility and commitment is to you. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, together".

Last month, Lopetegui had extended his contract with the national team until 2020.

Rubiales then held meetings with Lopetegui to ascertain how negotiations between his agent and Real Madrid had reached such an advanced stage without the permission of the Spanish FA.

According to reports in Spanish media, the players tried to intervene at the last minute to prevent Rubiales sacking Lopetegui.

"We have made a decision to fire the national coach", Spanish Football Federation president, Luis Rubiales, said.

The current Spain technical director, Hierro is best known for his trophy-laden career with Real Madrid.

It has not lost a match since a 2-0 loss Italy in the European Championships round of 16 almost two years ago.

Spain has sacked Julen Lopetegui.

Spain manager Julen Lopetegui sacked two days before opening match