BREAKING: Spain Sacks Coach Lopetegui, 24hrs To World Cup
Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as Spain boss just two days ahead of their opening World Cup fixture and one day to the opening of the tournament.
The Spanish Football Federation made its announcement at around 11am on Wednesday ahead of a news conference at which president Luis Rubiales said: “We have been forced to dispense with the national coach. We wish him the greatest of luck.”
It was announced on Tuesday the 51-year-old, who was in charge of the national team for two years, had agreed a three-year contract at Real Madrid to replace Zinedine Zidane.
However, the decision angered the Spanish FA, with Rubiales adding: “I don’t want to get into how Real Madrid should go about things. The Spanish team is the team of all of Spain.
“If it had been up to Julen it wouldn’t have happened in this way and I wouldn’t have found out five minutes beforehand.
“The negotiations have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and we were informed just five minutes before the press release. We have a way of behaving that needs to be adhered to.
“You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been obliged to make this decision.
“Obviously there was some sort of problem with communication but we can’t be expected to find out about something like this five minutes [before the announcement] and not take the necessary decisions.”
Spain delayed a press conference at the Krasnodar Stadium by more than an hour before Rubiales, who played for Hamilton Academical in 2009, announced the decision.
The U21 manager Albert Celades, who is part of the coaching staff with the senior squad in Russia, and director of football Fernando Hierro are two of the possible replacements as head coach heading into the World Cup.
The president said there would be further announcements in due course, with a replacement head coach to be announced.