After it was announced yesterday that Julen Lopetegui would be Zinedine Zidane’s successor at Real Madrid next season, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have reacted by relieving the manager of his international duties effective immediately.
Out of nowhere
Last week Lopetegui was a relatively unknown figure in world football preparing for an attempt to write his name in the history books as only the second manager of Spain to win the World Cup.
Yet this week he has made history for all the wrong reasons – appointed as Real Madrid’s manager yesterday and sacked by Spain today, everyone is wondering what on earth has gone wrong for Julen Lopetegui?
A justified sacking?
Luis Rubiales, the president of the RFEF, has announced that they “have been forced to dispense with the national coach” due to the fact that negotiations with Real Madrid “occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and [they] were informed just five minutes before the press release”.
Rubiales was due to be in Moscow to partake in the vote for the 2026 world cup host but he was forced to fly back to Spain’s base in Krasnodar for an emergency meeting of which the result was Lopetegui’s sacking.
When asked what the contingency plan is he simply stated, “we are going to touch as little as possible”, giving the impression that a member of the current staff will be promoted to the position of head coach.
What next for Lopetegui?
It will be interesting to see the reaction from Real Madrid, who clearly did not feel the need to contact the Spanish Football Federation whilst negotiating with Lopetegui. The lack of communication may have been down to the fact that the now former Spain manager had signed a contract extension until 2020 on May 22 – it would have disrupted the negotiations considerably had the Spanish FA been informed.
It is yet to be seen whether the dethroned manager will take up his role in Madrid earlier than anticipated or if he will simply have to wait until the competition he has spent so long preparing for comes to an end.
The show must go on, and Spain are set to face their toughest game of the group stage on Friday against their bitter rivals Portugal. Lopetegui’s now former assistant Hierro has been placed in charge for that game as of now.