ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In a bizarre turn of events, the Spanish national team has sacked their manager two days before their 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia begins.
The Spanish Football Federation (SFF) announced coach Julen Lopetegui’s dismissal on Wednesday one day after he signed a contract to succeed Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager.
In a Tuesday statement on its official website, Real Madrid said Lopetegui signed a three-year contract to manage the first team, and that he would “join the club after Spain’s participation in the World Cup.”
The announcement came after weeks of speculation over who would take over the Madrid hot seat following Zidane’s surprise departure earlier this month.
“We have been forced to make this decision,” SFF President Luis Rubiales said in a series of tweets from the Royal Spanish Football Federation’s (RSFF) official Twitter account.
Rubiales said Lopetegui held discussions with Real Madrid to become their new manager without the SFF’s knowledge.
“RFEF cannot be sitting on the sidelines whilst someone negotiates with one of its employees and then find out five minutes later before the news is made public,” he added.
The President described the situation as “difficult and painful,” adding the choice to sack Lopetegui “is what is best for the whole of RFEF and the national team.”
The 51-year-old had been in charge of the Spanish national team for the past two years, taking over after Euro 2016.
2010 winners Spain, who are one of the favorites to win the competition, start their campaign in Group B against Portugal on June 15 before matches against Tunisia and Iran.