BREAKING: Julen Lopetegui Sacked As Spain Coach

Julen Lopetegui at Spain training on Tuesday, his final full day in the job. PICTURE: Javier Etxezarreta/EPA

MADRID: Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has been sacked, two days before their opening World Cup match against Portugal.

Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui, who had only recently extended his contract with Spain, would take over as their coach next season.

The RFEF then said that Lopetegui would leave his job with Spain after the World Cup.

But multiple media reports on Wednesday said that RFEF president Luis Rubiales was so angry at Lopetegui’s conduct that he was prepared to fire him immediately.

Lopetegui has signed a three-year deal to succeed Zinedine Zidane with the Champions League holders and it was decided that in the circumstances it was inappropriate for him to continue with Spain. 

The Spanish Football Association president, Luis Rubiales, was supposed to be at Fifa’s congress in Moscow on Wednesday but flew to Spain’s training base late on Tuesday night to deal with the matter. 

[READ]: Why Real Madrid Chose Spain’s Julen Lopetegui

“We have been forced to dispense with the national coach. We wish him the greatest of luck,” said Rubiales.

“The negotiations have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and we were informed just five minutes before the press release. There’s a way to act that needs to be fulfilled.”

Asked who would be taking over, he added: “We are going to touch as little as possible. We are working on it. When we know we will tell you. “I have spoken with the players and I can guarantee they will do everything, along with the new coach, to take the team as far as possible. 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.

Spain are unbeaten in 20 matches since Lopetegui took over following Euro 2016. 

Additional reporting by The Guardian