I was 'honest and clear', claims sacked Spain coach Lopetegui

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.

Perez said Rubiales' reaction was "one of pride" and he "disrespected" Real.

A former Madrid Castilla [youth team] player and coach, Lopetegui was a goalkeeper who played just one game for the senior Blancos side, before later representing Rayo Vallecano, Logrones and Barcelona.

Spain open their World Cup against Group B contenders and European champions Portugal on Friday, a hard first test for Hierro especially with a dressing room somewhat divided, per Sport's Jordi Gil.

Lopetegui said it would have been "bad" to hide his appointment from the Spain squad, adding "the players took it well".

"We wanted to do this event after the World Cup, after another win by the national team", Perez said. But today is the happiest day of my life. I told the federation president about the agreement, which both sides were free to make.

At the same time nearly 5,000 kilometres away, Lopetegui was being unveiled as the new Madrid coach. But we have been professional, honest, and clear. I am very relaxed, all of us [at Madrid] are as we have done nothing wrong. "We tried to be transparent, I am very clear that I have been fully loyal, no doubts".

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"There is no precedent that a work agreement after a World Cup is considered an act of disloyalty".

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"I feel sorry for the manager because he was with the [Spain] team for the last two years and of course he deserves to be with the team".

"I've been near a ball for 30 years", Hierro said while dismissing his lack of coaching experience.

Gil explained in his report that the majority of the squad were upset with Lopetegui-bar Real captain Sergio Ramos-most of whom felt the hypocrisy after he had encouraged them to put club distractions on hold while they were at the World Cup.

However, the players were "hurt" when they found out that Lopetegui had been negotiating with a club in the build-up to the finals.

"Julen you will get all support and I want to welcome you to your home, of Real Madrid". "We know how important he is, he is a constant danger", admitted Ramos of his Real Madrid colleague.

  • Regina Holmes