Spain sack manager Lopetegui 2 days before World Cup opener

Julen Lopetegui has been removed as Spain’s manager just two days before the team’s opening match against Portugal on Friday at the World Cup.

The move comes a day after reports said he had agreed to take over at Real Madrid after the World Cup.

The Spanish Football Association president, Luis Rubiales, was so angry with Lopetegui’s conduct that he fired him immediately. Former sporting director Fernando Hierro is taking over as coach at short notice.

Since Lopetegui signed a three-year deal to succeed Zinedine Zidane with Real Madrid, Rubiales decided it was inappropriate for the manager to continue with Spain.

Rubiales was supposed to be at FIFA’s congress in Moscow on Wednesday but he flew to Spain’s training base late on Tuesday night to sort out the matter.

Rubiales said Spanish Football Association was forced to sack Lopetegui who did not bother to tell them about the negotiations between him and Real Madrid. They were informed about the deal only five minutes before the news was released to the press. This is not the way to act as a responsible manager, Rubiales said.

For Spain, Lopetegui’s exit is a setback as he had led them on a 20-game unbeaten streak since taking over following Euro 2016.