Spain sack coach on World Cup eve

Spain manager, Julen Lopetegui, has left his role as Spain manager 24 hours before the World Cup begins.

The 2010 champions begin their campaign against Portugal on Friday, but must do so without the man who got them there.

Lopetegui’s departure comes after it emerged the 51-year-old will replace Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid’s new manager.

In a swiftly arranged press conference on Wednesday morning, Luis Rubiales, the head of the Spanish FA said they were left without any choice to part ways.

“We wish him the greatest of luck,” Rubiales said.

“Lopetegui has been a great coach. But we cannot accept this behaviour, we only found out about his [Real Madrid] decision five minutes before the announcement.

“This has been done without our knowledge. I do not feel betrayed. But this is how it must be.

“If someone wants to talk to one of our employees, they must speak to us too. This is a basic requirement. The national team is for the entire nation.”

Early suggestions put Spain Under-21 Coach Albert Celades and Fernando Hierro – both former Madrid players – as candidates to fill the void.

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

“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.”