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World Cup: Spain rocked as head coach Julen Lopetegui sacked just 2 days before tournament starts

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Yesterday, the 12th of June, Julen Lopetegui had landed one of the most prestigious jobs in football as he was appointed head coach of Real Madrid. He must have felt ecstatic yet now, 24 hours later his feelings would have drastically changed.

With just one day before the World Cup begins, and two days before Spain's first group game against rivals Portugal president of the Spanish FA, Luis Rubiales, sacked Julen Lopetegui, 51, after he had taken the Real Madrid job without informing the organisation. In fact, Rubiales said:"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 by Real Madrid] and not take the necessary decisions. 

"I don't want to get into how Real Madrid should go about things. The Spanish team is the team of all 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."

Spaniard, Lopetegui was approaching two years in charge of his national team, winning 14 of his 20 games in charge. It was not long ago that Lopetegui who has previously managed Spain's U21's and Porto was set to take over at newly promoted Premier League side Wolves. Lopetegui had agreed to take over at Wolves in July 2016 but when Spain came calling he couldn't turn his national team down. He will now take on a different responsibility, managing Europe's best team. He will be familiar with surroundings at The Bernabéu having made one appearance for Madrid back in 1988 as well as managing Real Madrid B between 2008-2009. 

 

 

Lopetegui is being replaced by Spain's sporting director and ex Bolton Wanderers defender Fernando Hierro. Hierro, who made 439 appearances for Real Madrid joined Bolton for a single season in 2004 making 29 appearances in total. Rubiales had sought the advice of Hierro before sacking Lopetegui yet it was Hierro who advised Rubiales not to sack their manager yet Rubiales did not listen as he was so angry with Lopetegui. The president had traveled to Russia with the intention of sacking Lopetegui.

Will Spain be able to cope with all this disruption on the eve of the World Cup? We'll find out on Friday as they take on Portugal, another nation will football troubles.

Image rights - Wikimedia Commons

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