Real legend takes Spanish reins after shock sacking

(Reuters)

(Reuters)

Fernando Hierro has been appointed as Spain’s head coach for the World Cup after the extraordinary axing of Julen Lopetegui.

The 2010 world champions sacked Lopetegui on Wednesday afternoon, literally on the eve of the World Cup and two days before their match against Portugal in Sochi. Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui, who just last month renewed his national team contract until 2020, would assume the manager’s post left vacant by Zinedine Zidane. The Football Federation was reportedly left furious and decided to end his term before he intended to at the end of the tournament.

Shortly after the news, it was announced their director of football and former Spain and Real Madrid captain Hierro would take the post for the duration of the tournament.

“Fernando Hierro will assume the position of national coach in the World Championship of Russia and will appear before the media accompanied by the president RFEF, Luis Rubiales,” a statement from the federation said.

“Next, he will direct his first training and on Friday he will debut in Sochi at the match of Spain against Portugal.”

Hierro is a bonafide legend at both club and international level. A centre-back with endless composure and smooth passing skills, he played over 500 times for Los Blancos, winning five La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies. He was one short of 90 caps for the national team and scored a remarkable 29 goals for La Roja.

Luke Feltham

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