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Spain manager Julen Lopetegui sacked two days before opening match

13 June 2018

The club released a statement this afternoon to that effect which said: "Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of Real Madrid after the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation".

The stunning development threatens to destabilise a team regarded as one of the favourites to win the tournament in Russian Federation.

The Manchester Evening News claim Real president Florentino Perez is so confident his side will seal the transfer, he has openly spoken about making De Gea the world's first £100m goalkeeper.

"I share the decision that Luis Rubiales has taken, it is not an easy situation but I think it is the right thing to do", Xavi said. The Spanish national team is the team of all the Spaniards.

The news caught recently elected RFEF chief Rubiales in Moscow for the vote on the World Cup 2026 host country, but he flew back to Krasnodar for an emergency meeting with Lopetegui after which his personal decision was announced at a news conference.

The U21 manager Albert Celades, who is part of the coaching staff with the senior squad in Russian Federation, and director of football Fernando Hierro are two of the possible replacements as head coach heading into the World Cup.

Il Corriere dello Sport: Earthquake in Spain. In the past, such announcements on eve of major tournaments have had mixed responses.

Mundo Deportivo: Lopetegui sacked two days before the debut.

"The negotiation occurred without the RFEF having any information", Rubiales said. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger.

Daily Mail: Civil War in Spain.

Bild: Earthquake in Spain.

He has already denied he left in order to take over as France boss from Didier Deschamps following the World Cup. He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision.

It is believed that a contingent of players led by Captain Sergio Ramos were against the move and wanted Lopetegui to continue at least until the World Cup.

Lopetegui is returning to Spain this afternoon and was confronted by a hoard of reporters as he arrived at the airport in Russian Federation to board his flight.

There were reports that players tried to persuade Rubiales to change his mind and keep Lopetegui on the job.

He will not be able to complete what he started in Russian Federation but his good work may not go to waste if Hierro can get Spain quickly back on track. Lopetegui will leave without losing a game with the team.

Guillem Balague says Julen Lopetegui's appointment as Real Madrid manager came as a surprise, but insists fans will be happy. "We wish him the greatest of luck".

A Bola: Lopetegui, sacked two days before the World Cup.

Olé: Spain, without a manager.

Lopetegui is one of very few players to feature for both Real Madrid and Barcelona in his club career, and coached Los Blancos' B team around a decade ago.

Spain manager Julen Lopetegui sacked two days before opening match