Spain in chaos 2 days before World Cup after coach fired

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Hierro who is coaching Spain following removal of Julen Lopetegui

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Hierro who is coaching Spain following removal of Julen Lopetegui

Julen Lopetegui's position as Spain boss was called into serious question just 48 hours ahead of La Roja's World Cup opener against Portugal, according to furious Spanish press reports on Wednesday (Jun 13), after he was named the new Real Madrid coach.

Rubiales said firing Lopetegui wasn't the best solution but it was needed after the federation was caught by surprise by Madrid's announcement.

"Negotiating is legitimate but it took place without the RFEF being informed until five minutes before a press statement was released".

"I don't feel betrayed, the problem is that things have been done with the complete absence of the RFEF, which is something (we) can not let go by". "We feel obliged to make this decision".

The news caught recently elected RFEF chief Rubiales in Moscow for the vote on the World Cup 2026 host country, but he flew back to Krasnodar for an emergency meeting with Lopetegui after which his personal decision was announced at a news conference.

After Madrid's announcement that it hired Lopetegui, critics immediately began questioning some of the coach's decisions with the national team, including his choice to leave some Barcelona players such as Sergi Roberto out of the World Cup squad.

"There's a lot to do".

Spain plays its first group stage game on Friday against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. Hierro, the national team's sporting director, is due to address the media later on Wednesday.

Despite a clear desire from the players to keep Lopetegui, Hierro insisted he had the full backing of the team and is confident they will give their all to do the nation proud in Russian Federation.

The development came a day after it emerged he would be replacing Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager in time for next season.

He will not be able to complete what he started in Russian Federation but his good work may not go to waste if Hierro can get Spain quickly back on track. He is a top coach for me, which made the decision very hard.

In the first reaction to the decision, former Spain forward Juanito said Rubiales' arguments had been impeccable.

Speaking just three weeks ago after signing his new Spain contract, the former Porto boss said: "I'm grateful for the confidence placed in me and in my staff. We wish him the greatest of luck".

Rubiales accused Lopetgui of betraying the federation's values.

"My future? The important thing is the World Cup and not to think of anything else that can divert you or upset you", De Gea, who is on national team duties with Spain told reporters.

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