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After surprise sacking, Spain's ex coach Lopetegui to be presented at Real Madrid

AFP  |  Madrid 

Just a day after he was sacked on the eve of the World Cup, former Lopetegui arrived in on Thursday where he will be officially presented as Real Madrid's new

Lopetegui landed at just before 5 am (0300 GMT). He will be officially presented as Real new for the next three seasons at an event at the Spanish giants' at 7 pm (1700 GMT), the club said in a statement.

"I am very sad, but we have a magnificent team and hopefully we'll win the World Cup," Lopetegui told reporters on his departure from Spain's training base in Krasnodar on Wednesday.

Spain's preparations were thrown into turmoil on Wednesday as Real Madrid-bound Lopetegui was sacked by the (RFEF), with taking charge just two days before their opening game in

In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, Real appointed Lopetegui as Zinedine Zidane's successor to take over after the tournament in Russia, sparking outrage among the Spanish federation and fans at the timing of the announcement.

"Negotiating is legitimate but it took place without the RFEF being informed until five minutes before a press statement was released," told a joint conference on Wednesday with Hierro.

"I have spoken with the players and what I can guarantee is that the players will do everything in their power, along with the new technical team, to take the team as far as possible," he added.

Lopetegui, who did not lose a single game in 20 matches as boss, had signed a new contract with the federation until 2020 just last month.

- 'Biggest absurdity' -

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players reportedly resisted his sacking, which came as Spain are due to face European champions in Sochi on Friday before taking on and in Group B.

There were fears Lopetegui's appointment by the European champions could open up old divisions between the Real and factions in the Spain squad.

"You could not start a in a worse way," wrote daily Marca.

Top-selling called Lopetegui's dismissal "the biggest absurdity in the history of Spanish football" in an article accompanied with a photo of the sacked coach, wearing sunglasses, as he left

"at the World Cup," wrote rival daily El Mundo, adding Wednesday was "the darkest day in the history of the Spanish national team".

Hierro, 50, was named as an emergency replacement despite having only one season's managerial experience in the with He was popular among the players as the federation's sporting between 2007 and 2011, and returned to that role in November of last year.

With at least six of the expected starting XI for the game to come from Madrid and Barca, Hierro, himself a former Real captain, must ensure club loyalties don't further undermine Spain's chances with divisions already appearing between the players and the federation.

"We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves. The objective is to fight for a The players have been working towards this for two years," said Hierro.

"I've told the players that we have a wonderful, exciting challenge and we can't let this be an excuse to distract us from our dream.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 17:05 IST
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