Sacked Spain coach Julen Lopetegui 'very sad' after shock departure on eve of World Cup

Spain national football team coach Julen Lopetegui reacts during a press conference at Krasnodar's stadium on June 8, 2018 on the eve of the international friendly match against Tunisia.
Image: Real Madrid-bound Julen Lopetegui was sacked as Spain coach on Wednesday - two days before their World Cup opener against Portugal

Sacked Spain coach Julen Lopetegui admits he is "very sad" about his shock departure from the World Cup.

The 51-year-old was relieved of his duties on the eve of the tournament after Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales learned - just five minutes before the official announcement was made - of his deal to become Real Madrid manager after the tournament.

"I am very sad, but hoping that we have a magnificent World Cup and that we win," Lopetegui told reporters from Cadena SER and COPE as he left Krasnodar airport for a flight to Madrid.

Meanwhile, former Spain coach Javier Clemente has accused Rubiales of being "clueless" in his role.

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Find out how Spain are doing after replacing manager Julen Lopetegui

"Speaking in football terms, in terms of what a club is and what sports management is, Rubiales is clueless," he told radio station Onda Vasca.

"He is a rookie and his arguments are always a bit dictatorial."

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The Spain squad, with director of football Fernando Hierro now in charge, left Krasnodar bound for Sochi on Thursday ahead of their World Cup opener with Portugal on Friday.

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