Belfast Telegraph

Julen Lopetegui ‘very sad’ following shock departure from World Cup

Lopetegui was sacked just two days before Spain’s opening match against Portugal.

Sacked Spain coach Julen Lopetegui admits he is “very sad” about his shock departure from the World Cup.

The 51-year-old was relieved of his duties on the eve of the tournament after Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales learned – just five minutes before the official announcement was made – of his deal to become Real Madrid manager after the tournament.

“I am very sad, but hoping that we have a magnificent World Cup and that we win,” Lopetegui told reporters from Cadena SER and COPE as left Krasnodar airport for a flight to Madrid.

Former Spain coach Javier Clemente has accused Rubiales of being “clueless” in his role.

“Speaking in football terms, in terms of what a club is and what sports management is, Rubiales is clueless,” he told radio station Onda Vasca.

“He is a rookie and his arguments are always a bit dictatorial.”

bpanews_3b1c37cd-4401-46e6-aee3-f055ac5ef2af_embedded236981413
Director of football Fernando Hierro has stepped into the breach left after Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales sacked Julen Lopetegui (Manu Fernandez/AP)

The Spain squad, with director of football Fernando Hierro now in charge, left Krasnodar bound for Sochi on Thursday ahead of their World Cup opener with Portugal at the weekend.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph