Lopetegui sacked by Spain on eve of World Cup

Morocco head coach Herve Renard

Hierro was sensationally appointed Spain coach on the eve of the tournament, after previous boss Julen Lopetegui was sacked on Wednesday morning by Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales, who was angered by Real Madrid announcing Lopetegui as their new coach on Tuesday afternoon.

"The negotiation has happened without any information to the RFEF, just five minutes before the press release".

"I don't feel betrayed, the problem is that things have been done with the complete absence of the RFEF, which is something (we) can not let go by". "It is a hard and painful situation, we would have liked to finish here with Julen at the top, but we have not determined the way we act".

Criticism of Real Madrid and Lopetegui was spreading as Rubiales flew to Spain's base camp in Krasnodar, Russia.

Spain are giving serious thought to sacking their head coach Julen Lopetegui less than 24 hours until the start of the World Cup.

"There's a lot to do".

The current Spain technical director, Hierro is best known for his trophy-laden career with Real Madrid.

Lopetegui, who took over as Spain boss in 2016, only recently signed a contract extension with the 2010 world champions.

"We have been obliged to fire the national coach", Rubiales said.

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"I do not feel betrayed because Julen has done a relentless job, but we are forced to move on this because of how things have been done", Rubiales continued.

"The values of the national team are above everything", he said on Twitter.

Despite a clear desire from the players to keep Lopetegui, Hierro insisted he had the full backing of the team and is confident they will give their all to do the nation proud in Russian Federation.

The World Cup kicks off on Thursday when host nation Russian Federation plays Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

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. I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. "We wish you the greatest of luck", said Rubiales.

Spanish football expert Balague says after links with Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte had been quashed, it was anybody's guess who Real would appoint.

"He will join the club after the participation of the Spanish team in the World Cup, after two years leading the national team".

There were fears Lopetegui's appointment by the European champions could open up old divisions between the Real Madrid and Barcelona factions in the Spain squad. Rubiales said that although the federation's financial situation was not ideal, money was "not the most important thing in a moment like this".

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