The announcement that Julen Lopetegui would be Zinedine Zidane's successor as Real Madrid manager next season shocked everyone at the national team base in Krasnodar on Tuesday. It even caught out Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation, who had travelled to Moscow for Wednesday's Fifa Congress.
Hierro: 'don't sack Lopetegui'
Rubiales changed his plans urgently and headed to Krasnodar to sort out the mess. Upon his arrival, the new president's anger towards Lopetegui could not be disguised and he asked Fernando Hierro, sporting direector to the Spanish national team, if he had known about the agreement between the coach and Florentino Pérez' Madrid side.
The answer to that question was a clear 'no' but Hierro, a Madrid legend himself, advised Rubiales not to fire him - which was the plan that Rubiales had travelled with. Hierro also offered himself as an option to take over following Spain's completion of the World Cup in Russia.
Despite the tensions in the relms of coaches and management, the players remain very calm. As far as they are concerned, they believe they can go on and lift the famous trophy in a month's time, whether with or without Lopetegui.