Real Madrid announce Spain coach Lopetegui as Zidane replacement

Andre Villas-Boas

Real Madrid announce Lopetegui as new manager

Spain sacked head coach Julen Lopetegui after he was named the new Real Madrid boss - two days before their opening World Cup match against Portugal.

Earlier in the day, Spain delayed a press conference at the same venue by well over an hour before Rubiales announced he had dismissed Lopetegui - pointing the finger of blame at Real Madrid, rather than the outgoing coach.

As it goes, the man who will take charge of the team while in Russian Federation will be Fernando Hierro (one of Zidane's former Real Madrid teamates). I'm sure this will, over time, make us stronger.

According to reports in Spain, Rubiales was incensed when he discovered Lopetegui had agreed a deal with Madrid.

"You can not do these things two to three days before a World Cup".

"There's a lot to do".

Lopetegui will take the place of Zinedine Zidane, after he surprised the club two weeks ago by saying he was leaving after winning an unprecedented three straight Champions League titles.

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With Julen Lopetegui being announced as the new Real Madrid manager, speculation is rife as to who will take over in the national team hotseat. "The circumstances are what they are and from here I accept the challenge with bravery".

Lopetegui was sacked Wednesday, two days before Spain's opening match against Portugal, because he accepted a job Tuesday to coach Real Madrid next season.

It's thought that Rubiales felt "betrayed", having only discovered the Lopetegui would become manager of Los Blancos five minutes before it was made public.

Incredibly, Lopetegui had instructed his players to put any transfer or contract talks on hold during the World Cup despite breaking his own rule to negotiate a move to the Bernabeu.

A goalkeeper in his playing days, he has previously been involved with Real Madrid, moving from his native Basque country to play with Castilla in 1985 and even making one appearance for the first team. "The national team is the most important we have, the WC is the biggest of all", he further added. "(We were told) just five minutes before the press release. "It wasn't an easy situation but I think he did the right thing".

After all, Lopetegui had impressed by leading the national team to the top of its qualifying group and had kept it undefeated in 20 matches since taking over from Vicente del Bosque in 2016.

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