MADRID. — Julen Lopetegui has admitted he was left “very sad” after he was sacked as Spain soccer boss. The 51-year-old was named as Real Madrid’s new manager on Tuesday – then fired by his national team 24 hours later .
He was due to take charge of Spain’s opening World Cup clash against Portugal today but Fernando Hierro will now be in the dugout.
Lopetegui arrived in Madrid in the early hours of yesterday morning as he prepares to officially take over as Zinedine Zidane’s replacement.
And as he left Moscow, he added: “We have a magnificent team and hopefully win the World Cup.”
Real Madrid legend Hierro meanwhile he will “bravely” take on the challenge of managing his country.
“It is a nice challenge and an exciting one,” he said.
“The circumstances are what they are and from now on I accept the responsibility bravely, it can’t be any other way.
“We have a group of players who have been together for two years to work towards the World Cup and I have been sporting director, so I understand the motivation is huge.
“We cannot alter two years of hard work in the coming days – from now until the Portugal match, we don’t have the ability to change much.