For­mer Real Madrid man will take reins in Rus­sia

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Uk World Today -

“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.

“They key is to change as lit­tle as pos­si­ble. We can­not change any­thing in two days.”

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, Spain de­layed a press con­fer­ence at the same venue by well over an hour be­fore Ru­biales an­nounced he had dis­missed Lopetegui – point­ing the fin­ger of blame at Real Madrid, rather than the out­go­ing coach.

“We have been forced to dis­pense with the na­tional coach. We wish him the best of luck,” he said.

“I don’t want to get into how Real Madrid should go about things. The Span­ish team is the team of all Spain.

“If it had been up to Julen it wouldn’t have hap­pened in this way and I wouldn’t have found out five min­utes be­fore­hand.”

For­mer Barcelona great Xavi was full of praise for the swift ac­tions of Ru­biales – who was only ap­pointed as pres­i­dent last month.

“Lopetegui’s de­ci­sion, for me, was in­op­por­tune, un­ex­pected and rushed,” he said.

“It was a sur­prise to every­one but Ru­biales re­acted re­ally well. He’s looked at the RFEF, which must al­ways be above any one per­son.”

Fer­nando Hierro (left, back to cam­era) ad­dreses the Span­ish squad.

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