Spain sack head coach Julen Lopetegui day before the World Cup

Andre Villas-Boas

Spain sacked coach Julen Lopetegui just two days before the team's opening game against Portugal at the World Cup, Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales confirmed on Wednesday.

"We have been forced to dispense with the national coach, we wish him the best of luck, what the Spanish gets, will have to do with the work he has developed", Rubiales said.

His decision to take the job angered senior figures within the Spanish FA, particularly the recently appointed president, Luis Rubiales, who was only made aware a matter of minutes before it was publicly announced by Real. Julen has worked in a great way with the team, but we can not accept how he has acted in this case.

He said: "I'm very sad but we're hoping that we can win the World Cup. I'm sure this will, in time, make us stronger".

During a press conference, it was announced by Spain President Luis Rubiales that Lopetegui would not be taking charge of the side in Russian Federation.

It's almost unthinkable to fire your coach the day before the World Cup.

"There's a lot to do".

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Since hanging up his gloves he has taken on various roles with the Spanish youth teams, before moving to Porto in 2014.

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. I know there's going to be criticism whatever I do.

Spain play their first Group stage match against Portugal on Friday.

"I don't feel betrayed, the problem is that things have been done with the complete absence of the RFEF, which is something (we) can not let go by".

The 51-year-old took over as Spain coach in 2016 following the retirement of Vicente Del Bosque who led his country to victory in the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship. "I found out five minutes before the official statement came out, I asked nothing to be done, because the news caught me in Moscow".

An hour after that, the RFEF then posted their own reaction as they announced that Real would have to pay the €2 million release clause for Lopetegui, who had just signed a new long-term contract with La Roja on May 22 .

Julen Lopetegui stands by the bench during an worldwide friendly soccer match between Spain and Costa Rica on November 11, 2017.

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