Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as Spain boss on the eve of the World Cup after Spanish FA chiefs were left furious following his announcement as Real Madrid boss.
Spain hastily called a press conference as reports emanated that the head of the Spanish FA, Luis Rubiales, was left outraged by the timing of the announcement.
Following a bizarre morning, during which the Spanish players pleaded with Rubiales for Lopetegui to keep his job, it was decided that the manager’s position had become untenable.
New Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as the manager of Spain
Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales on Wednesday announced Lopetegui would leave his role
Rubiales was furious with the announcement of Lopetegui’s decision to join Real Madrid
‘We have been forced to dispense with the national coach, we wish him the best of luck,’ said Rubiales.
‘The Spanish national team is the team of all the Spaniards. We only found out just five minutes before that he was leaving for Madrid.’
Fernando Hierro, a former Real Madrid player himself and current sporting director of the Spanish FA, is understood to be an early frontrunner to succeed Lopetegui.
Sportsmail understands, however, that Hierro will give the job to Albert Celades, the national team’s Under-21s coach, should Lopetegui get the axe.
Lopetegui has agreed a deal to become Real Madrid’s new manager after the World Cup
Fernando Hierro, Spanish FA’s sporting director, is favourite to take the job if Lopetegui leaves
Wednesday’s press conference was due to start at 9.30am (BST) on Wednesday morning but was delayed by well over an hour as the Spanish FA’s top brass thrashed out a solution among themselves and the players.
Members of the Spain squad, led by Los Blancos skipper Sergio Ramos, eventually failed in their bid to keep the coach in his role and it was announced shortly after that Lopetegui will indeed leave his current position with immediate effect.
One of Rubiales’ first tasks in his role was to extend Lopetegui’s contract, and when the Spain boss has reneged by signing a deal with Madrid, the Spanish FA chief was concerned he has been played a fool.
The curious morning had earlier hit new heights when Manolo ‘el del Bombo’, the Spanish superfan who beats his drum with gusto at matches, marched into the press conference, concerned about the future of the national team at this summer’s showpiece.
Lopetegui signed a deal with Spain until 2020 on May 22 but Real Madrid have swooped for his services and he has agreed to join the Spanish giants after the Russia tournament.
Manolo ‘el del Bombo’, the Spanish superfan, arrived at the press conference on Wednesday
Lopetegui, pictured (right) with his squad on Tuesday, angered the Spanish FA top brass