Albert Celades to Take Charge of Spain Against Portugal Following Sacking of Julen Lopetegui

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Spain Under-21 manager Albert Celades will be promoted to take charge of the Spanish senior team for their World Cup opener against Portugal on Friday.

The news follows the shock announcement earlier today that Spain have fired manager Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup – due to his decision to join Real Madrid. The Mirror now report that it will be the former Barcelona player to step in, though it’s unconfirmed his term as coach will last.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation reportedly found out that Lopetegui had joined Los Blancos five minutes before Real Madrid published their press release.

According to RSFF president Luis Rubiales, the move ‘forced’ the Spanish FA into sacking Lopetegui – but they will promote Under-21 boss Celades to replace him.

Furthermore, Martin claims that Lopetegui will not address the media until he returns to Spain, having flown out to Russia with his squad as they make their final preparations for the tournament.

At today’s press conference, Rubiales said (via ESPN): “I very much admire Julen and respect him greatly. He seems to be a top coach and that has made it more difficult to make this decision. To win is very important. To have the best coach very important. But, above everything, is acting in the right way. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end, it will make us stronger.”

He added: “The federation cannot be left outside the negotiation of one of its employees and find out just five minutes before a public announcement. If anybody wants to talk to one of our employees, they have to speak to us, too.

“That is basic, as this is the team of all Spaniards. The national team is the most important team we have and the World Cup is the biggest [competition] of all.”

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