Fernando Hierro replaces Julen Lopetegui as Spain coach ahead of quadrennial event

Fernando Hierro replaces Julen Lopetegui as Spain coach ahead of quadrennial event

Fernando Hierro replaces Julen Lopetegui as Spain coach ahead of quadrennial event

Spain have sacked head coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup and just days after he was named as the new boss at Real Madrid.

The players are said to have called on Lopetegui to remain in charge of the national side but Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales held a press conference on Wednesday morning to confirm the departure.

"Negotiating is legitimate but it took place without the RFEF being informed until five minutes before a press statement was released". I have a very clear conscience, and from there we take on the challenge we have in front of us.

"We have chose to fire the national coach", Spanish Football Federation president, Luis Rubiales, said.

"It's a hard situation, but we are not the ones who determined the action that had to be taken", he said. "We have been compelled to make this decision".

Spain's World Cup hopes may have been dashed today as their head-coach Julen Lopetegui, has been sacked with immediate effect.

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"There's a lot to do". Lopetegui had recently signed a new deal with Spain on May 22 extending his contract until 2020.

Former team captain Fernando Hierro, already in Russia as Sporting Director, has been directed to take over as coach for the tournament, the federation said on its website.

Spain begin their World Cup campaign against Portugal on Friday in a match live on BBC One (19:00 BST kick-off).

"We have been forced to dispense with the coach, remembering all the good things he has given us", he told reporters.

"The values of the national team are above everything", he said on Twitter.

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The club announces that Julen Lopetegui will coach the first team for the next three seasons. Although, if he takes Spain deep in the World Cup then little will be made of that.

After short spells at Rayo Vallecano and with Madrid's youth team Real Madrid Castilla, Lopetegui enjoyed a successful time with Spain's under-19s and under-21s.

But Madrid's announcement that Lopetegui would replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid immediately caused controversy around the Spanish national team.

Zidane won the Champions League at Real for the past three seasons, but Balague insists fans will be happy with Lopetegui's arrival, having gone 20 games unbeaten with Spain.

Rubiales took over a federation which was in the hands of embattled official Angel Maria Villar for almost three decades.

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