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Spain sack manager two days before World Cup opening match
Julen Lopetegui has been axed as Spain manager after it emerged that he had agreed to take over at Real Madrid after the World Cup.
Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui would succeed Zinedine Zidane on a three-year-deal with the club.
The Spanish football federation (RFEF) said today (Wednesday) it had dismissed Lopetegui because the negotiations with Real Madrid occurred "without any information to the RFEF".
The Spanish Football Association president, Luis Rubiales, was supposed to be at the FIFA congress in Moscow on Wednesday but flew to Spain’s training base late on Tuesday night to deal with the matter.
“We have been forced to dispense with the national coach. We wish him the greatest of luck,” said Rubiales.
“The negotiations have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and we were informed just five minutes before the press release," said Rubiales, making it clear he was unhappy with the way the situation had been handled.
Lopetegui became Spain manager in 2016 following Vicente del Bosque's retirement, and remained unbeaten throughout his short reign.
Spain won 14 of 20 games under Lopetegui's guidance, drawing the remaining six.
No hints have been given as to who might step in for Lopetegui at this late stage, but the RFEF head: “We are going to touch as little as possible. We are working on it. When we know we will tell you.
“I have spoken with the players and I can guarantee they will do everything, along with the new coach, to take the team as far as possible. To win is very important, to have the best coach very important, but above everything is acting in the right way. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger.
“I took a plane, came back from Moscow, missed the vote on the next World Cup to be here. We had to react, I know that whatever I do I will be criticised, I accept that.”
Spain play their first Group B match against Portugal on Friday evening.
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