Spain sack coach Julen Lopetegui one day before World Cup starts

Spain has sensationally sacked their coach Julen Lopetegui, just one day before the start of the World Cup in Russia.

Spanish Football Association president, Luis Rubiales, revealed the decision soon after Lopetegui was announced as new coach of Champions League winners Real Madrid.

The Spanish Football Association reportedly believed it would be inappropriate for Lopetegui to continue his tenure, considering he only informed the Spanish FA of dealings with Real just minutes before the official press release from the mega-club.

“We have been forced to dispense with the national coach. We wish him the greatest of luck,” said Rubiales.

Julen Lopetegui speaks with Pique. Pic: Getty

“The negotiations have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and we were informed just five minutes before the press release. There’s a way to act that needs to be fulfilled.”

The Spanish FA will now look to finalise a replacement coach in a matter of hours.

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

“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.

“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.”

Spain will face Portugal in their first Group B match on Saturday (AEST).

Lopetegui’s replacement?

Press Association Sport looked at five possible contenders to take the Spain job, following Lopetegui’s appointment at the Bernabeu.

Rafael Benitez

The Newcastle boss has an impressive record in club management with the likes of Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid before taking over at St James’ Park in 2016.

He has won LaLiga twice and the UEFA Cup with Valencia, the Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool and the Europa League with Chelsea.

Fernando Hierro

The current Spain technical director, Hierro is best known for his trophy-laden career with Real Madrid.

The defender played more than 500 times for the club and also won 89 caps for his country.

He won the LaLiga title on five occasions and the Champions League three times before going on to play for Bolton and coach Spanish club Oviedo.

Luis Enrique

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.

During his playing career he won three league titles, the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the Olympic gold medal with Spain in 1992.

As manager of Barcelona he won two more league titles and one Champions League crown.

Joaquin Caparros

The current director of football at LaLiga side Sevilla, he stepped in as caretaker manager last season following the sacking of Vincenzo Montella.

A vastly experienced club coach in Spain he has guided the fortunes of Villarreal, Deportivo La Coruna, Athletic Bilbao, Mallorca, Levante, Granada and Osasuna and was linked to the Spain job before Lopetegui was appointed in 2016.

Zinedine Zidane

Zidane shocked the footballing world when he walked out on Real Madrid following Champions League success.

He has already denied he left in order to take over as France boss from Didier Deschamps following the World Cup.

As a player he won the Champions League and titles in Italy and Spain as well as the World Cup and European Championship, and added a Spanish title and three successive Champions League wins as Real manager.

With Yahoo UK