Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Julen Lopetegui, the 'Real' twist to Spain campaign

Julen Lopetegui, the 'Real' twist to Spain campaign

And if Spain's World Cup campaign does stall, it will be fascinating to see who gets the blame: the easy scapegoat Rubiales, the easily led manager Lopetegui or the great temptress Real Madrid. Here is why Los Blancos opted for the Spain boss just three days ahead of La Furia Roja's 2018 FIFA World Cup opener.

"The national team is the team for all Spaniards and there are some decisions we feel obliged to take to protect some values", said Rubiales.

"We have to chose to fire the national coach", Rubiales said in a press conference on Wednesday. "This is not the best solution but in life you can not escape your responsibilities", said Rubiales.

Spanish newspaper AS claim Lopetegui could now be unveiled at the Bernabeu as early as Thursday afternoon. I found out with a phone call five minutes before the official announcement. I have a very clear conscience, and from there we take on the challenge we have in front of us.

According to reports in Spain, Rubiales was incensed when he discovered Lopetegui had agreed a deal with Madrid.

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

Spain blitzed through qualifying, earning 28 points from a possible 30, and they're the bookies' second favourites to win the tournament in Russian Federation. "We are left in a very hard situation", he said.

"We can not alter two years of hard work in the coming days". Others believe the chaos on the eve of the World Cup just made a bad situation worse.

Rubiales also revealed that the Spanish FA will receive the payment of the rescission clause so that the current coach can sign for Real Madrid.

"It has taken about two weeks, but it's a recognised name, they know what he's bringing, and I do think the fans will be happy". "Nobody gifts you anything at a World Cup, one bad game sends you home, we all know the responsibility we have". He is a top coach for me, which made the decision very hard.

Former Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez, for example, has openly criticised the coach and applauded the decision taken by the RFEF. I have a very close relationship with the players, as with Julen, it's a very complex situation, the most complex one I could find.

Six of Spain's 23 players in Lopetegui's World Cup squad are Real stars, and the former Spain U19, U20 and U21 coach has also worked with a few of the club's younger players, such as Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and Borja Mayoral, at youth level. We have been forced to act. "We have been compelled to make this decision". I told them we have an exciting challenge in front of us, and we can not let this affect our focus.

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