Spain fires coach Julen Lopetegui two days before World Cup opener

Friday, 15 Jun, 2018

Spain legend Xavi says Real Madrid's decision to announce Julen Lopetegui as their new manager days before the World Cup was not ideal timing.

Former Spain captain and Real Madrid legend, Fernando Hierro, who is also the current sporting director of the Spanish FA, is understood to be an early frontrunner to succeed Lopetegui.

Lopetegui, unbeaten in 20 games as coach, winning 14 and drawing six, was sacked after being named as Real Madrid coach on Tuesday. (We were told) just five minutes before the press release.

"The Spanish team is the team of all Spain", Rubiales said.

Perez said Rubiales' reaction was "one of pride" and he "disrespected" Real. Just look at Barcelona and Real Madrid who leave their mark on the national team.

"We can not alter two years of hard work in the coming days - from now until the Portugal match, we don't have the ability to change much".

Lopetegui said it would have been "bad" to hide his appointment from the Spain squad, adding "the players took it well".

Germany kick off their World Cup title defence on Sunday when they face Mexico in Moscow, while Spain face European champions Portugal on Friday.

"Obviously there was some sort of problem with communication but we can't be expected to find out about something like this five minutes and not take the necessary decisions". I am very relaxed, all of us are, we have acted in a fully professional and honest way. Others believe the chaos on the eve of the World Cup just made a bad situation worse. Spain's opening game is a big deal given Portugal's proximity, and Cristiano Ronaldo's side are their main rivals in Group B.

De Gea has always been linked with a move to Real Madrid and he was on the verge of completing a transfer to the Bernabeu in September 2015, before the deal fell through at the final hour.

La Roja were among the favourites to lift the trophy this summer but the astonishing developments of the past two days could have a devastating affect on their chances. "I know the circumstances and Julen's work has been fantastic and I wish him all the best", he said.