Spain sack manager Julen Lopetegui two days before first match

Newly-signed Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui and club president Florentino Perez

Newly-signed Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui and club president Florentino Perez

Julen Lopetegui has been removed as Spain manager a day after it emerged that he had agreed to take over at Real Madrid after the World Cup.

Former Real Madrid star Hierro has been working in the Spanish national team set-up since his appointment as sporting director last November, with the move to appoint him as Lopetegui's replacement created to dilute the confusion around the squad. But the federation can not be left outside the negotiation of one of its employees, and find out just five minutes before a public announcement. Julen has worked in a great way with the team, but we can not accept how he has acted in this case. Rubiales has been wounded in his pride, but the fundamental difference is that it is not Rubiales the man who is injured, but Rubiales the president of the Spanish Federation.

"I know it's a very hard situation". I'm sure this will, over time, make us stronger.

Lopetegui did not attend the news conference in Krasnodar.

The 50-year-old will have barely 48 hours to prepare his team for their opening World Cup match against neighbours and bitter rivals Portugal in Sochi on Friday.

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"There's a lot to do".

Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui would succeed Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu on a three-year-deal. It's that basic. This is a Spain national team that represents all Spaniards, it's the most important team we have and the World Cup is the biggest stage of them all.

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.

A star midfielder for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, he has also coached Roma, Celta Vigo and returned to the Nou Camp as head coach. We've watched the videos for the next game and we need to use our brains, be coherent and, anyway, between now and Portugal there's not much room for change.

"They players have received him with pleasure and they have told me that they'll be with him to the death".

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Lopetegui was sacked shortly before the World Cup.

"I don't want to get into how Real Madrid should go about things".

"It's really unusual, I don't really know what to say", said the Leicester striker.

"I saw it in the press, it had already happened, and because of my responsibility, I know that whatever I do, there will be criticism".

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