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Real Madrid Announce Spain Coach Julen Lopetegui as Zinedine Zidane's Successor

Real Madrid Announce Spain Coach Julen Lopetegui as Zinedine Zidane's Successor

He won the LaLiga title on five occasions and the Champions League three times before going on to play for Bolton and coach Spanish club Oviedo. You can not do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup.

The news still came as a shock to the Spain team, who are now in Krasnodar preparing for their game on Friday against Portugal.

"The players are very focused and they have told me they are fully committed and will give 100 per cent".

"I've a very close relationship with the players, also with Julen", he said.

It's thought that Rubiales felt "betrayed", having only discovered the Lopetegui would become manager of Los Blancos five minutes before it was made public. Hierro, the national team's sporting director, is due to address the media later on Wednesday. "But this wasn't possible". "When we know we will tell you", said Rubiales, who flew from Moscow - where the vote for the 2026 World Cup host was being held - to Spain's training base in Krasnodar, Russia.

"I wasn't losing any sleep regarding a new contract as we all know that football is uncertain".

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.

But now, several outlets, including Spanish publication Footbal Espana are reporting that Spain are considering sacking the 51-year-old.

The president said what had happened wasn't the best solution for the team but said action was needed after it was surprised by the Real Madrid announcement.

The U21 manager Albert Celades, who is part of the coaching staff with the senior squad in Russian Federation, and director of football Fernando Hierro are two of the possible replacements as head coach heading into the World Cup. Now removed from his position, reports on Wednesday morning suggested Spain's Under-21 coach Albert Celades would be an option to step in for the World Cup. "It has been a very hard decision, the most hard for me".

Spanish football expert Balague says after links with Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte had been quashed, it was anybody's guess who Real would appoint.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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