Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Julen Lopetegui to Real Madrid is a surprise, says Guillem Balague

Julen Lopetegui to Real Madrid is a surprise, says Guillem Balague

The federation learned of Lopetegui's appointment five minutes before it was announced by Real Madrid, its chairman Luis Rubiales said in a televised news conference.

The club on Tuesday poached Spanish national team coach Julen Lopetegui just two days before the start of the World Cup in Russian Federation.

"The negotiation has happened without any information to the RFEF, just five minutes before the press release. It is a hard and painful situation, we would have liked to finish here with Julen at the top, but we have not determined the way we act". Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger.

Former Spain and Real Madrid captain Hierro, who moves from his role as the team's director of football, was set to be presented to the press at the Krasnodar Stadium later on Wednesday before getting to work in his new post.

Lopetegui was appointed Spain coach in July 2016 and never tasted defeat in the job, leading the team through 20 unbeaten games ahead of the World Cup.

"There's a lot to do".

"Not because Lopetegui will be the coach of Madrid for the next three years, which seems like a good and respectable choice".

Last month, Lopetegui agreed to a contract extension through 2020.

And on Lopetegui's replacement, Fernando Hierro, he believes he "is a well-prepared person to take charge of the national team".

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His first task will be to ready the team for their opening game in Sochi on Friday, which will see them take on European champions and Iberian neighbours, Portugal.

"Rubiales feels betrayed and his anger has only increased as the hours have passed".

The decision, made one day before the World Cup begins, sent shockwaves through the footballing world.

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"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.

But if Spain gets eliminated after the group stage, many in the country will lay the blame firmly on Lopetegui, Rubiales and Madrid president Florentino Perez. He is a top coach for me, which made the decision very hard.

We wish you the greatest of luck.

But now, several outlets, including Spanish publication Footbal Espana are reporting that Spain are considering sacking the 51-year-old. But the values of the federation come first.

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