Spain sack coach Julen Lopetegui one day before World Cup starts

Spain sack coach Julen Lopetegui one day before World Cup starts

Former Real Madrid defender Hierro, now sporting director for the national team, will take charge of Spain at the World Cup following the stunning sacking of Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament.

"The federation can not be left out of a negotiation by one of its workers and be informed five minutes before the press release", Rubiales said. "We had to react, I know that whatever I do I will be criticised, I accept that. It is a hard and painful situation, we would have liked to finish here with Julen at the top, but we have not determined the way we act".

Chelsea are facing up to the fact there will be no easy - or cheap - way out of their managerial deadlock following Real Madrid's decision to appoint Julen Lopetegui.

"There's a lot to do".

But Hierro, a former Madrid and Spain captain, avoided getting into the rights and wrongs of how he has ended up in the job in such dramatic fashion and told his presentation news conference that he was only interested in looking forward and maintaining the good work which had been done to this point. Lopetegui had on May 22 renewed his contract as Spain coach until 2020.

The president said what had happened wasn't the best solution for the team but said action was needed after it was surprised by the Real Madrid announcement.

The 50-year-old's only previous coaching experience came at second division Oviedo, but he believes the players are ready to put the change behind them and focus on winning a second World Cup starting against European champions Portugal in Sochi.

"I do not feel betrayed".

Lopetegui signed a three-year deal with the UEFA Champions League winners on Tuesday but was poised to lead the La Furia Roja to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

However, despite many feeling that Lopetegui's connection with Real Madrid would cause friction within a already politically divided squad, the Iberian nation have gone and appointed a Real Madrid legend as their new coach in Fernando Hierro.

There are six Madrid players in Spain's team for the World Cup. He is a top coach for me, which made the decision very hard.

Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui would succeed Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu on a three-year-deal. "We wish him the greatest of luck", said Rubiales.

Reports in Spain suggest Michel and Luis Enrique are leading candidates to replace Lopetegui as coach after the World Cup.

He began his career at Real Valladolid, where he spent two seasons in the first team before moving to the Spanish capital.

Already part of the backroom staff in Russian Federation, he is understood to have a good relationship with the squad, and as an 89-cap veteran of the national team nobody can suggest he does not know how tournament football works.