Real Madrid Announce Spain Coach Julen Lopetegui as Zinedine Zidane's Successor

GK David De Gea

'The negotiations [between Lopetegui and Real Madrid] have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and we were informed just five minutes before the press release.

Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), confirmed the news at a delayed news conference in Krasnodar on Wednesday.

Rubiales said the players, who Spanish media said had tried to dissuade him from such drastic action, had vowed to give everything for the team.

For the first time in a major tournament since 2006, Real's six-strong contingent outnumber Barca players in the Spain squad with only Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets selected, along with Andres Iniesta, who only last month brought his glorious 16-year career at the Camp Nou to an end.

"It's a similar situation here; he already had the contract signed with the Spain national team for two more years, but Real Madrid, who couldn't get Mauricio Pochettino, chose to go for him, and two days before the beginning of the World Cup they announce it".

"There's a lot to do". He previously was an assistant coach at Real Madrid and manager of Spanish second-division club Real Oviedo.

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.

"Rubiales feels betrayed and his anger has only increased as the hours have passed". We have been forced to act.

"We've come to fight for the World Cup", said the 50-year-old ex-Spain and Real Madrid defender.

Spain begin their World Cup campaign against neighbours Portugal on Friday, but who will be in the dugout for La Roja remains to be seen. He is a top coach for me, which made the decision very hard.

Spain's Diego Costa and Jesus Vallejo during training prior to the dismissal of coach Julen Lopetegui.

We wish you the greatest of luck. He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision. There were also questions about how Lopetegui would be able to fully focus on the national team while also having to discuss off-season signings for his new club.

Since hanging up his gloves he has taken on various roles with the Spanish youth teams, before moving to Porto in 2014. Rubiales said that although the federation's financial situation was not ideal, money was "not the most important thing in a moment like this".

Spain sacked Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup after Tuesday's announcement he will join Real Madrid after the tournament.

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