Real Madrid will unveil Julen Lopetegui as their new manager on Thursday evening, a mere 24 hours after he was sensationally sacked from his role as manager of the Spanish national team on the eve of the World Cup.
In a further afront to the Spanish FA (RFEF), Real Madrid have planned for the presentation of their new manager to take place on the eve of Spain’s pivotal first tie of the tournament versus Portugal.
A statement on Real Madrid’s website said: «Real Madrid CF will present Julen Lopetegui as the new first team manager today, Thursday June 14. The act will take place at 7:00 pm CEST at the Santiago Bernabeu presidential box.»
Lopetegui flew back to Madrid from Krasnodar on Wednesday, leaving Spain’s new interim manager, RFEF sporting director Fernando Hierro, to face the media at a press conference. The 51-year-old was dismissed just two days before Spain were set to begin their Russia campaign after it emerged he was to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu.
RFEF president Luis Rubiales said he was told of the signing just five minutes before it became public on Tuesday, and his subsequent sacking of the manager reportedly went against the players’ wishes.
Lopetegui signed a new three-year contract with the RFEF just last month, in one of Rubiales’ first major decisions since he was elected as president in May.
Former Real Madrid and Spain captain Hierro said that in spite of the circumstances the opportunity was a «great challenge». Spain plays their first match against Portugal at 7pm on Friday.