Julen Lopetegui: Real Madrid break silence, reveal next action

De Gea and Sanchez meet in Russia

Rubiales said the sacking could have been avoided if full discussions had taken place between the club and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) before the news about Lopetegui's move to Madrid was made public.

"It was an absurd reaction of misunderstanding and pride, which was aimed at hurting the prestige of Real Madrid", said Perez.

Shortly after the news, it was announced their director of football and former Spain and Real Madrid captain Hierro would take the post for the duration of the tournament.

"There was no reason at all why Julen Lopetegui should not have been on the Spain national team bench tomorrow".

"It completely surprised me, I don't know the background of the decision, but two days before the first World Cup game - it's fantastic", admitted Germany coach Joachim Loew on Wednesday as the news first broke.

The mess in the national team: "It's not up to us to put a measure on it".

"But I also understand the position of the federation".

At the same time nearly 5,000 kilometres away, Lopetegui was being unveiled as the new Madrid coach.

"I am very relaxed, all of us are, we have acted in a fully professional and honest way". We know quite clearly what we want.

"There are many precedents [of a national coach moving to a club after a tournament]".

"We have a very clear goal in mind, we've worked for two solid weeks before the competition. I hope that we can have a team with the same dreams, this can't distract us". The sooner we focus on the World Cup, the better. In two years I have had four presidents in the federation.

"I wanted to give a press conference that day, but I had to wait because he was far away".

He cited Chelsea signing then Italy boss Antonio Conte before Euro 2016 and Manchester United confirming Dutch manager Louis van Gaal's appointment before the 2014 World Cup.

He described the day he was sacked as "the saddest day of my life since the death of my mother", and the 51-year-old former goalkeeper will surely find it hard to watch Friday's match.

"It's not a huge problem for them because the players are so good that they pick themselves".

Iberian rivals Portugal and Spain square off on Friday at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the second match of Group B. The neighbors, with plenty of familiar players and similar styles, go to battle in what is arguably the most highly-anticipated groups stage match of the cup.

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