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New Real Madrid manager Lopetegui leaves Spain on eve of World Cup kick-off

Goal.com logo Goal.com 13/06/2018
Spain's coach, Julen Lopetegui, gestures during a press conference at the Royal Spanish Football Federation's 'Ciudad del Futbol' in Madrid on September 1, 2017 on the eve of their World Cup 2018 qualifier football match against Italy. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS        (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) © Catalyst Spain's coach, Julen Lopetegui, gestures during a press conference at the Royal Spanish Football Federation's 'Ciudad del Futbol' in Madrid on September 1, 2017 on the eve of their World Cup 2018 qualifier football match against Italy. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as manager of Spain, after taking the Real Madrid job on Tuesday.

Lopetegui was announced as Zinedine Zidane's successor earlier this week in a move that surprised many.

The announcement initially claimed that the 51-year-old would take the reins at Santiago Bernabeu after the conclusion of the tournament, but La Roja have acted now.

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"We have to decided to fire the national coach," Spanish Football Federation president, Luis Rubiales, said. "What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck."

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Rubiales insists he does not feel undermined, but has suggested that Real acted in a manner unbecoming of their status.

“I don’t feel betrayed. Lopetegui has done impeccable work. How all this has been done is something else.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez (L) shakes hands with Spain's coach Julen Lopetegui (C) beside Spain's defender Sergio Ramos during his visit to Spain's national football team at Las Rozas de Madrid sports city on June 5, 2018. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images) © Catalyst Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez (L) shakes hands with Spain's coach Julen Lopetegui (C) beside Spain's defender Sergio Ramos during his visit to Spain's national football team at Las Rozas de Madrid sports city on June 5, 2018. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

"I have spoken with the players and I can guarantee they will do everything, along with the new coach, to take the team as far as possible.

"Real Madrid look for the best coach, that is fine by me. I have no opinion about how Real Madrid act. But the federation have an obligation, to represent all Spaniards.

"To win is very important, to have the best coach very important, but above everything is acting in the right way. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end it will make us stronger.”

Lopetegui was unbeaten in his time in the Spain dugout, guiding his team to 14 wins and six draws from 20 matches.

Spain national football team coach Julen Lopetegui reacts during a press conference at Krasnodar's stadium on June 8, 2018 on the eve of the international friendly match against Tunisia. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images) © Catalyst Spain national football team coach Julen Lopetegui reacts during a press conference at Krasnodar's stadium on June 8, 2018 on the eve of the international friendly match against Tunisia. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

The stunning development threatens to destabilise a team regarded as one of the favourites to win the tournament in Russia.

Spain face Portugal on Friday, and will also face Iran and Morocco in Group B.

Rubiales has not revealed who will be in charge for La Roja's opening game of the tournament, but insists that an announcement will be made in due course.

Julen Lopetegui wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Goal.com

“We are going to touch as little as possible," he said. "We are working on it. When we know we will tell you.”

It has been reported that several Spain players were keen for Lopetegui to stay on throughout the tournament, but that Rubiales was keen to act after finding out of the manager's agreement with Real Madrid mere minutes before the announcement was made.

Gallery: Julen Lopetegui and other cases of World Cup self-sabotage (Grid) Julen Lopetegui and other cases of World Cup self-sabotage: The World Cup is the biggest tournament in football and millions of fans tune in to watch the best players on the planet.However, as well as the on-field stories, you can guarantee that there will always be a few examples of teams who shoot themselves in the foot with things that happen behind the scenes.This year’s example seems to be Spain, as manager Julen Lopetegui has agreed to take over at Real Madrid post-tournament.Apparently, chiefs at the Spanish FA were furious at his decision and as such, he has been sacked and will not be in charge for the tournament.In honour of the Spanish meltdown, we’ve taken a look back at other times when World Cup sides have self-sabotaged their own tournament. Julen Lopetegui and other cases of World Cup self-sabotage

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