Monday, June 21, 2021

Blame Lopetegui, Not Real Madrid, for Disrupting the Spanish World Cup Bid

Milos Markovic in Editorial, World Cup 13 Jun 2018

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Champions League winners Real Madrid will have little to no sympathy over the uproar their Julen Lopetegui announcement has caused just days before Spain are to kick off their World Cup campaign.

Just as they should.

Los Blancos named Spain boss Julen Lopetegui as a new head coach on a three-year deal on Tuesday. Lopetegui is set to take over from Zinedine Zidane who led the club to three successive Champions league titles.

The regal club opted to approach Julen Lopetegui regardless of his ongoing commitments with Spain and without any regard to the fact he has only recently signed a contract extension with the Spanish FA. With Florentino Perez insisting on a swift solution to their managerial vacancy, Real Madrid have displayed an apparent lack of respect toward the entire nation as they put their own personal agenda in front of the national team’s.

Still, are they the only one to be blamed for what happened in the aftermath of the announcement?

The former FC Porto has been described as a surprise choice for Real Madrid but a few football fans could have imagined a surprise that was to come. Two days before Spain’s opening World Cup match against Portugal, the Spanish FA has today announced that Julen Lopetegui has been sacked with no immediate action to be taken on finding his replacement.

“We have been forced to dispense with the national coach. We wish him the greatest of luck,” said the Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales who left the FIFA congress in Moscow and flew to the Spanish training base to take immediate action over a newly-caused stir.

Rubiales was surprised by the fact negotiations between Real Madrid and Julen Lopetegui occurred without any knowledge to the Spanish FA who were informed of the agreement just five minutes before it was made public.

“It’s the Spanish team. You cannot do things this way. I admire Julen a lot, I respect him a lot, I think he’s a top trainer and that makes it more difficult to make the decision.”, Rubiales added.

With only 20 games under his belt as Spain boss – 14 wins and six draws – Julen Lopetegui leaves the Spanish helm without having even started to display the nuances of his managerial ability.

Where Did the Spine Go? 

He did guide Spain to the World Cup with relative ease – on the back of nine wins out of 10 fixtures, while drawing against Italy.

Although Lopetegui’s Spain record is admirable, the way new Real Madrid manager conducted by accepting a Los Blancos offer and opening talks at such a delicate moment speaks volumes about him as a man and to the same extent of Real Madrid’s disregard towards Spain. It can be a suggestion of how his spell at Santiago Bernabeu would pan out. Real Madrid locker demands a strong personality which is a painting Julen Lopetegui did not paint, unfortunately.

In the end, La Roja were forced to shoot themselves in the foot by sacking the man who is said to have been a popular figure in the Spanish locker room. Julen will surely have lost quite a few friends in the Spanish national team – especially on the Barcelona-powered side of the spectrum.

Deemed among the favourites to lift this year’s World Cup trophy at 13/2 betting price, the Spanish national side might have ruined all chances of emerging victorious.  Not only will such a scenario be a massive morale and team atmosphere blow but it will also require an unfortunate alteration of the coaching staff and system at such a crucial time.

Who Next?

The bookmakers have had their early say, earmarking Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger as two of the most notable names to take the reins at La Roja.

It is Luis Enrique at 10/3 and Spain Under21 coach Albert Celades at 1/1 who have emerged as favourites however although Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola – on a short-term task – are being pondered as well.

Who do you think will be the right man for the job as Spain look to climb the global pedestal for the first time since 2010.


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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Carl BehrensVMD Recent comment authors
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At this late stage, Guardiola would be the best option since the system used by the national team is a variation of the tiki-taka, but it would seem almost impossible for him to leave City at this time. Perhaps they can coax the previous coach out of retirement?

Carl Behrens
Carl Behrens

Vicente del Bosque on an interm basis would be a wise choice.

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