Spain sack national coach Julen Lopetegui before start of World Cup

Getty Images Julen Lopetegui

Getty Images Julen Lopetegui

In announcing one of the most extraordinary coach sackings in World Cup history, Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said he had found out about the move five minutes before it was announced by the Champions League winners.

He claimed that one person, who is believed to be Lopetegui's agent, had done things in the worst way possible, while Rubiales also later claimed that he only learned that the deal was done five minutes before it was announced. "We have been compelled to act". "When we know we will tell you", said Rubiales, who flew from Moscow - where the vote for the 2026 World Cup host was being held - to Spain's training base in Krasnodar, Russia. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger.

The Spanish Football Association have sacked Julen Lopetegui just a day after he was named the new Real Madrid manager.

A decision on a replacement is unlikely to be made until after the upcoming World Cup after Lopetegui was sacked just two days before Spain kick-off the tournament.

"There's a lot to do".

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The national team is seeking to rebuild after a disappointing defense of the trophy in 2014, combining a new generation of players with the last of its world champions.

In the first reaction to the decision, former Spain forward Juanito said Rubiales' arguments had been impeccable.

Spain take on Portugal in Sochi on Friday before facing Iran and Morocco in their other Group B games. "If I wasn't sure that we couldn't have a great tournament, I wouldn't be here", Hierro said.

Guillem Balague says Julen Lopetegui's appointment as Real Madrid manager came as a surprise, but insists fans will be happy.

Rubiales didn't know about him having agreed to coach Real Madrid until he landed in Russian Federation on Tuesday.

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He has already denied he left in order to take over as France boss from Didier Deschamps following the World Cup.

He represents a new approach for Real Madrid, as despite those European campaigns with Porto, at club level he does not have particular experience in the biggest games.

And RFEF president Rubiales was understandably livid at a press conference: 'I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much.

"We have been forced to do without Lopetegui".

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