Spain sack manager Julen Lopetegui two days before first match

Real Madrid have announced Spain's Julen Lopetegui will succeed Zinedine Zidane as head coach after the World Cup.

During a press conference, it was announced by Spain President Luis Rubiales that Lopetegui would not be taking charge of the side in Russian Federation.

Speaking to the press shortly after 12pm CET, Rubiales - who was not accompanied by Lopetegui - said "we have been forced to dispense with the national coach". "There is a way that you must act, Julen has worked in a great way with the team, but we can not accept how he has acted in this case".

Rubiales was backed by former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who was a regular supporter of the federation president when he was the Spanish players' union president.

"I only have one year of experience with Oviedo and one year of experience as an assistant coach", Hierro said.

The Newcastle boss has an impressive record in club management with the likes of Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid before taking over at St James' Park in 2016.

'We have a group of players who have been together for two years to work towards the World Cup and I have been sporting director, so I understand the motivation is huge.

"There's a lot to do".

The U21 manager Albert Celades, who is part of the coaching staff with the senior squad in Russian Federation, and director of football Fernando Hierro are two of the possible replacements as head coach heading into the World Cup.

The announce in terms of timing and impact is really bad, because the entire Spanish media pack will now be talking about Real Madrid throughout the World Cup, not the national team.

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"I have spoken with the players and what I can guarantee is that the players will do everything in their power, along with the new technical team to take the team as far as possible", said Rubiales.

"I don't want to get into how Real Madrid should go about things. When we know we will tell you", Rubiales said.

It's been a turbulent few days for Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui.

We will have more to come as this story develops.

Former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui wished the team all the best in the World Cup before flying back from Russian Federation to immediately begin his new job with Real Madrid.

Lopetegui was unbeaten in his time in the Spain dugout, guiding his team to 14 wins and six draws from 20 matches, and he signed a new two-year contract to take him through to Euro 2020 in May.

  • Stacy Allen