Lopetegui sacked by Spain on eve of World Cup kick-off after Real Madrid appointment

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The move threatens to destabilise one of the most highly-rated teams in the tournament, with La Roja set to play Portugal on Friday
Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as manager of Spain , after taking the Real Madrid job on Tuesday.

Lopetegui was announced as Zinedine Zidane’s successor in a move that surprised many just days before the World Cup in Russia is due to start.

The announcement initially claimed that the 51-year-old would take the reins at Santiago Bernabeu after the conclusion of the tournament, but La Roja have acted now after calling a hastily-arranged press conference on Wednesday.

“We have decided to fire the national coach,” Spanish Football Federation president, Luis Rubiales, said. “What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck.”

Rubiales insists he does not feel undermined, but has suggested that Real acted in a manner unbecoming of their status.

He added: “I don’t feel betrayed. Lopetegui has done impeccable work. How all this has been done is something else.

“I have spoken with the players and I can guarantee they will do everything, along with the new coach, to take the team as far as possible

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