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Julen Lopetegui unveiled as Real Madrid manager after Spain sacking

by 14/06/2018 13:59:00 0 comments 1 Views

'Today is the happiest day of my life': Julen Lopetegui unveiled as Real Madrid manager... the day after being sacked by Spain as president Florentino Perez attacks 'anti-Madrid feeling' and accuses Spanish FA of 'disrespecting our club'

  • Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Spain manager Julen Lopetegui would take over post-World Cup
  • However Spain sacked Lopetegui on Wednesday, 48 hours before their opening game against Portugal
  • Real therefore announced Lopetegui as their manager at a press conference on Thursday evening
  • Ex-Real goalkeeper Lopetegui said it was the happiest moment of his life following one of his saddest 
  • Real president Florentino Perez criticised the Spanish FA's handling and claimed Real had acted fairly 

By Matthew Smith For Mailonline

Published: 13:30 EDT, 14 June 2018 | Updated: 13:59 EDT, 14 June 2018

Julen Lopetegui has been officially unveiled as the new manager of Real Madrid after he was sacked by Spain two days before their World Cup opener, describing it as the happiest day of his life following one of the saddest.

Lopetegui accepted the offer to take over at Real following his duties with Spain at the World Cup - but was dismissed by the Spanish FA before their opener against Portugal on Saturday.

The former Real goalkeeper, who also previously managed the B team, Castilla, was warmly applauded by the gathered press as he gave a short statement before his full press conference, while his family wiped away tears.

Julen Lopetegui has been unveiled as the new manager of Real Madrid, after he was sacked by Spain before the World Cup
Julen Lopetegui has been unveiled as the new manager of Real Madrid, after he was sacked by Spain before the World Cup

Julen Lopetegui has been unveiled as the new manager of Real Madrid, after he was sacked by Spain before the World Cup

Lopetegui said that it was the 'happiest day of my life' as he returned to coach the side for which he used to play
Lopetegui said that it was the 'happiest day of my life' as he returned to coach the side for which he used to play

Lopetegui said that it was the 'happiest day of my life' as he returned to coach the side for which he used to play

Real president Florentino Perez criticised the Spanish FA for sacking Lopetegui two days before their World Cup opener
Real president Florentino Perez criticised the Spanish FA for sacking Lopetegui two days before their World Cup opener

Real president Florentino Perez criticised the Spanish FA for sacking Lopetegui two days before their World Cup opener


Speaking at his unveiling, Lopetegui said: 'We will try and win everything. I just want to thank everyone, I feel like part of the Real family. Yesterday, after the death of my mother, was the saddest of my life, but today is the happiest day of my life.'

He was the surprise choice to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu, after the Frenchman resigned over transfer policy despite winning three straight Champions League titles.   

Before Lopetegui spoke, Real president Florentino Perez accused the Spanish FA of 'disrespecting' Real and attempting to 'destroy our image' in an extraordinary statement.

Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales claimed he was only aware Lopetegui had agreed a deal five minutes before Real announced it, but Perez said his club had acted with the best interests of the national team in mind. 

He claimed the club had been open in their agreement with Lopetegui in an attempt to avoid destabilising the Spanish effort at the World Cup, and that an over-reaction by the authorities had done more damage. 

Lopetegui was chosen to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu, after the Frenchman resigned over transfer policy
Lopetegui was chosen to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu, after the Frenchman resigned over transfer policy

Lopetegui was chosen to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu, after the Frenchman resigned over transfer policy

He said: 'We wanted to have this act after the World Cup, a successful World Cup for our national team. However circumstances mean we are here now, and we are delighted to welcome the new manager of our team.

'I know for you, Julen, today is a day of a lot of feelings, strange feelings, as you wanted to be world champion, you wanted to make Spain champion of the world and then be manager of your dear Real Madrid.

'Inevitably there will be some comments about what has happened, but Real and Julen made an agreement to work together after the World Cup, respecting his contract. We wanted to do it before the World Cup to make it transparent and avoid rumours.

'There is no precedent that a manager agrees to become manager of a team after a competition and that agreement has been interpreted as disloyal. If you think it is, well, that is not how we do things in modern Spain. It is not true at all.

'We wanted to make it transparent and clear to prevent leaks that could damage Spain during the World Cup. This agreement seemed all normal, but then it was a reaction of pride from the FA president which has disrespected Real Madrid.

Lopetegui had agreed to manage Real after the conclusion of the World Cup, but sacking moved the announcement forward
Lopetegui had agreed to manage Real after the conclusion of the World Cup, but sacking moved the announcement forward

Lopetegui had agreed to manage Real after the conclusion of the World Cup, but sacking moved the announcement forward

'There have been cases, Conte, van Gaal, who have agreed to move on from national teams before or during a competition. Real are proud to have been able to help the success of the national team, and it is important that we remain the most respected club in the world and work against those who seek to destroy our image. I do not want to play the victim, but we must combat this anti-Madrid feeling during one of the best moments in our history.

'We are hugely surprised and cannot understand how this agreement could affect the players who are committed to being world champions again. These are professional players, this agreement would not hurt them, there is nothing that does not justify Lopetegui being on the Spain bench tomorrow.

'We are sorry he could not fight to make Spain world champions, but we have the satisfaction of having a great manager to make history again. This is a huge challenge not many get to face, I want to thank you Julen, and welcome you to your home.'  

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