BY KUNLE SOLAJA, MOSCOW.
Forty eight hours to their heavy weight clash with fellow Iberia peninsular strong side, Portugal, Spain on Wednesday sacked their coach, Julen Lopetegui for taking a job with Real Madrid on Tuesday.
He had been announced as the successor to Zinedine Zidane who sensational resign as Real Madrid’s manager days after an historic hat-trick win of the UEFA Champions League.
Many in Moscow are surprised at the decision of the Spanish FA considering the match the La Roja will play on Friday and the fact that Lopetegui’ assumption of duties with Real Madrid will be after the World Cup.
“We decided to fire the national coach,” Spanish Football Federation president, Luis Rubiales, said. “What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck.”
Rubiales insists he does not feel undermined, but has suggested that Real Madrid and Julen Lopetegui acted in a manner unbecoming of their status.
“I don’t feel betrayed. Lopetegui has done impeccable work. How all this has been done is something else.
“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.
“Real Madrid look for the best coach that is fine by me. I have no opinion about how Real Madrid act. But the federation have an obligation, to represent all Spaniards.
“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.”
Lopetegui was unbeaten in his time in the Spain dugout, guiding his team to 14 wins and six draws from 20 matches.
“We are going to touch as little as possible,” he said. “We are working on it. When we know we will tell you.”