Spain football team named Fernando Hierro as head coach for the FIFA World Cup while the side boasts of experienced leaders such as Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta
Spanish football federation (RFEF) and Real Madrid have, in haste, done everything in their power to dent Spain’s chances at the FIFA World Cup. With just two days to go before the 2010 champions hit the field for their opening match of Russia 2018 against Portugal in Sochi, Spain sacked their coach Julen Lopetegui.
The sacking came as a reaction to Real announcing Lopetegui, who has been Spain’s coach since 2016, as replacement to Zinedine Zidane.
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RFEF confirmed on Wednesday that Fernando Hierro will be the head coach of the national team after Lopetegui, who had recently agreed to a new contract to lead Spain till 2020. The announcement by Real, that too ahead of the World Cup, infuriated the Spanish football bosses, who felt the circumstances warranted the sacking.
RFEF president Luis Rubiales said he had lost confidence in Lopetegui after learning about the news five minutes before it was made public by Real Madrid.
"We have been forced to break our agreement. The Spain team is the team of all the Spaniards, you can not do things this way, 2-3 days before the World Cup. We have been forced to make this decision with Julen Lopetegui, who has done an impeccable job," Rubiales said in a press conference on Wednesday.
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"But we cannot accept this behaviour. This has been done without our knowledge. I do not feel betrayed. But this is how it must be."
Spanish World Cup winner Xavi Hernandez was one of the first to react critically to the timing of Real Madrid’s announcement.
"I am not the person to talk about it [Lopetegui joining Madrid]," Xavi, who was capped 133 times Spain in his illustrious career, told Radio Marca. "It was not the most ideal or opportune moment."
But the FC Barcelona legend, who has played with and against some of the players present in the current squad, believes there won’t be a dearth of leadership in the side despite the sudden jolt.
"You never know, the players have already seen it all and sure, they can play a good role at the World Cup," he said.
"Leadership will not be missing, there is [Sergio] Ramos, [Gerard] Pique, [Andres] Iniesta. There are very prepared people and a very good atmosphere. It's not the best situation but at the same time, it unites them more and they give more of themselves, you never know."