Top Stories

Spain fires Lopetegui, names Hierro as replacement ahead of World Cup


Spain began the week looking like a World Cup favorite, but the events of the past two days have thrown the Spanish national team into a state of chaos.

The Spanish federation fired Spain manager Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday, a day after he was announced as Zinedine Zidane’s replacement as Real Madrid coach. That appointment was set to begin after the World Cup, but Real Madrid’s handling of the move — which included failing to involve the Spanish Federation, and only notifying the federation minutes before the public announcement — helped set the stage for Lopetegui’s shocking dismissal.

“We have been obliged to fire the national coach,” Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales told reporters on Wednesday. “We wish him the best, he has done an excellent job in getting us to the tournament.

“The federation cannot be left outside the negotiation of one of its employees, and find out just five minutes before a public announcement,” Rubiales said. “If anybody wants to talk to one of our employees, they have to speak to us too, that is basic, as this is the team of all Spaniards. The national team is the most important we have, the World Cup is the biggest of all.”

Spain sporting director and former Spanish national team captain Fernando Hierro has been named to replace Lopetegui as head coach for the World Cup. Spain begins its World Cup on Friday against Portugal.


  1. Given the sectionalism of Spain, I can see why this would ruffle more than a few feathers even beyond the Federation. Nuts that they just couldn’t wait until post-Cup to announce the hiring.

  2. Not sure how Real Madrid does this without involving the federation ahead of time. The guy had a contract with the federation (until 2020); it seems to me that the coach is liable for breach of contract and RM is liable for tortious interference with a contract. I know that none of this really matters; if the coach wants to leave the national team for RM, he going to leave. But the federation really should have been compensated somehow.

    It’s really the height of arrogance, and pretty sleazy.

  3. Firing your coach on the eve of the world cup can’t possibly be in the best interests of the team, it’s about federation executive prerogatives being ruffled. Gotta keep priorities straight.

    That being said I tend to find these sorts of announcements arrogant and obnoxious. Like when the coach that got you to the bowl announces he’s going to BigU when it’s done. Why do you have to dilute the moment? Why can’t you wait til this is over? It drips in how important the coach thinks he and his destination are.


Leave a Comment