Axed Spain boss Julen Lopetegui urged his stunned Spain players to use his surprise departure on Wednesday as motivation to win the World Cup, according to reports.
The 51-year-old was announced as the new manager of Real Madrid on Tuesday and Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales was furious with the timing of the news.
Lopetegui and Perez informed Rubiales just five minutes before Reals announcement, only three days before their first World Cup game, and the RFEF felt it was unacceptable.
He was dismissed on Wednesday, with Spain sporting director Fernando Hierro – who previously played for Real Madrid and Bolton – taking charge for the tournament.
Spanish newspaper Marca report that Lopetegui flew out of Krasnodar airport shortly after the announcement and is already back in Spain.
He was waved off by a number of Spains coaching team, though three will follow him to Real: Assistant Pablo Sanz, fitness coach Oscar Garro and mental coach Juan Carlos Alvarez Campillo.
Lopetegui was given a chance to speak to his players one last time before leaving, and told them: Win the World Cup now, this has happened to make us stronger.
Incredibly, Lopetegui had instructed his players to put any transfer or contract talks on hold during the World Cup despite breaking his own rule to negotiate a move to the Bernabeu.
And RFEF president Rubiales was understandably livid at a press conference: I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision.
You cant do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision.
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