Spain sack head coach Julen Lopetegui day before the World Cup

Spain sack head coach Julen Lopetegui day before the World Cup

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Spain have sacked head coach Julen Lopetegui a day before the World Cup.

It comes just days after it was revealed he would take over at Real Madrid next season.

The 51-year-old has been appointed at the Bernabeu following the shock resignation of Zinedine Zidane – a move which reportedly left Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales feeling “betrayed”.

Rubiales said: “We want to thank Julen for all he’s done and he’s a big reason behind us being in Russia, but we feel obliged to dispense with his services.

“The negotiation occurred without the RFEF having any information. (We were told) just five minutes before the press release. We have a way of behaving that needs to be adhered to.

“There has to be a message to all RFEF employees and there are ways of behaving that you need to abide by.”

He added: “You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been obliged to make this decision.

“We wish him the best of luck.”

Lopetegui – who previously managed Porto – led his country to 28 points from a possible 30 as they cruised to top spot in their World Cup qualifying group.

Spain begin their campaign to regain the trophy from holders Germany on Friday evening, when they take on Portugal.

Albert Celades – manager of Spain’s under-21s team – will be in the dugout.

Spain were third favourites to take the most-prized trophy in football but their odds lengthened dramatically on Wednesday after the announcement.

There had been widespread speculation that Rubiales was not happy with the situation, and would remove the new coach despite the opening match being two days away.

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.

(c) Sky News 2018: Spain sack head coach Julen Lopetegui day before the World Cup