Spain, one of the favourites to lift the FIFA World Cup on July 15 in Moscow, have just fired their national team coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament. With their first match against Portugal on Friday 15 June, the Spanish Football Association have taken drastic measures in response to their manager’s failure ‘to act’ the right way.
This unexpected move apparently stems from the Spanish FA’s President’s displeasure at the announcement yesterday that Lopetegui would join Real Madrid after the World Cup. Apparently, Spain’s governing body of football was only notified of their manager’s decision to replace Zinedine Zidane at the reigning European champions five minutes before the press release.
The Spanish FA President, Luis Rubiales, stated, “We have been forced to dispense with the national coach…There’s a way to act that needs to be fulfilled.” He added that he had missed the voting process on the 2026 World Cup to deal with the situation. In other news, the joint bid from USA, Mexico and Canada has beaten out the effort from Morocco.
At the moment, blame is being thrown all around for this calamitous turn of events. Luis Rubiales is being attacked for his fragile pride, Real Madrid are being blamed for placing their publicity desires above the national team’s interests, and Lopetegui himself is being blamed for his naivety.
This move leaves Spain rudderless in the face of the most important international tournament of the football calendar. With reports suggesting that most of the national squad were in favour of continuity regardless of their views on Lopetegui’s actions, the new manager has a lot to do in a very short amount of time. Rubiales claimed that the national coach would be revealed soon, and most reports believe that either Spain’s Director of Football Fernando Hierro or U-21 manager Albert Celades will be taking over.
As for Lopetegui, at least he can console himself with the biggest job in club football currently. Then again, nothing in his CV suggests that he is ready for the challenge that awaits him in Madrid.
"yeah, so he had a bit of trouble dealing with everything that club football entails with Porto, but now he's with the Spanish NT and doing great. Clearly made to coach national sides, good on him! Oh, what's that? He signed for Real Madrid? Cool, cool, cool, no doubt, no doubt" https://t.co/L0YPAgYcf3
— Tiago Estêvão (@TiagoEstv) June 12, 2018
Update: Since the publication of this article, Fernando Hierro has been confirmed as the new national coach of Spain