Wednesday 12 December 2018

Real Madrid to unveil sacked Spain boss Julen Lopetegui on Thursday

The 51-year-old was sacked two days before Spain’s World Cup opener.

Former Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui is to be unveiled as Real Madrid’s new manager (Adam Davy/EMPICS)
Former Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui is to be unveiled as Real Madrid’s new manager (Adam Davy/EMPICS)

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

Julen Lopetegui will be unveiled as the new Real Madrid manager on Thursday evening, a day after being sacked as Spain boss.

The 51-year-old was relieved of his duties on Wednesday, two days before the nation’s World Cup opener against Portugal, after it emerged he was to take over from Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu Stadium following his return from Russia.

His presentation to the media was announced in a statement on the club’s official website, which said: “Real Madrid C. F. will present Julen Lopetegui as the new first team manager today, Thursday 14th June. The act will take place at 7:00 pm CEST at the Santiago Bernabeu presidential box.”

Lopetegui flew back to Madrid from Krasnodar overnight, leaving his temporary replacement Fernando Hierro to face the media at his pre-match press conference.

He was sacked as national team boss after Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales learned of his impending departure for Real just five minutes before the official announcement was made.

Speaking to reporters from Cadena SER and COPE at Krasnodar airport, Lopetegui said: “I am very sad, but hoping that we have a magnificent World Cup and that we win.”

Wednesday’s news rocked Spanish football, and prompted former national team manager Javier Clemente to deliver a withering verdict on Rubiales’ leadership.

‪👋🏻 ¡Hola, Sochi! Venimos a por nuestros 3 primeros puntos en #Rusia2018. Recuerda que, como se lee en nuestro bus🚌, 'Juntos somos invencibles'. ‬ ‪#HagamosQueOcurra #Rusia2018. ‬

Posted by Selección Española de Fútbol (SeFutbol) on Thursday, June 14, 2018

Clemente told radio station Onda Vasca: “Speaking in football terms, in terms of what a club is and what sports management is, Rubiales is clueless. He is a rookie and his arguments are always a bit dictatorial.”

The Spain squad flew to Sochi on Thursday ahead of training at the Fisht Stadium later in the day.

Lopetegui will have a difficult act to follow at the Bernabeu, following Zidane’s shock departure days after securing a third successive Champions League title, although the club finished only third in LaLiga – 17 points behind champions Barcelona.

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