• President Florentino Pérez defends conduct over appointment
• New Madrid coach Lopetegui: it was “saddest day of my life”
The Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, has accused the Spanish Football Federation of taking an “absurd reaction” in sacking their manager on the eve of the World Cup – a decision Julen Lopetegui described as “the saddest day of my life”.
A little more than 24 hours after his contract with Spain was terminated due to secret negotiations with Madrid, Lopetegui was unveiled as the successor to Zinedine Zidane at a hastily arranged press conference having flown back from Russia on Wednesday evening. Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish FA, had described his decision as an “obligation” after he was informed of the 51-year-old’s impending departure only five minutes before it was made public, with Fernando Hierro placed in charge of the team ahead of their opening match against Portugal on Friday.