It’s been a turbulent few days for Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui.
It’s been a turbulent few days for Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui. After being surprisingly announced as the new Real Madrid manager on Tuesday, the former Porto coach was subsequently – also surprisingly – sacked by the Spanish FA on the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Following an interesting two days, Julen Lopetegui has spoken out for the first time. Speaking to Cadena Ser (via Marca), the new Real Madrid manager revealed that he was bitterly disappointed to no longer having the opportunity to lead the Spanish national team at a World Cup:
“I am very sad, but wishing that we have a magnificent World Cup and that we win.
“We have a magnificent team and I hope that we win the World Cup.”
The decision to relieve Lopetegui of his duties – in spite of his unbeaten record as the Spanish national team manager – was made after the Spanish FA had been left out of negotiations between the coach and Real Madrid. RFEF president Luis Rubiales, during Wednesday morning’s press conference, revealed that Lopetegui had not conducted himself in ‘the right way’ (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.”
Rubiales also revealed that the Spanish did not find out that talks had been held between Los Blancos and Lopetegui just five minutes before the club’s official announcement:
“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.”
Lopetegui is set to be unveiled as the new Real Madrid manager Thursday, while Spain will kick start their 2018 World Cup campaign under new coach Fernando Hierro on Friday. Spain will take on Euro 2016 winners Portugal in what promises to be one of the ties of the group stage.