Julen Lopetegui said the day that he was sacked as Spain head coach was the “saddest” since the death of his mother as he was officially unveiled as Real Madrid’s new manager.
“Yesterday was the saddest day of my life since the death of my mother. But today is the happiest day of my life,” Lopetegui said as he fought back tears.
Lopetegui, who had been in Russia preparing the national team for the World Cup, was sacked on Wednesday after Real confirmed he would take over at the Bernabeu for next season.
Two days ago, Julen Lopetegui will have expected to be preparing for Spain’s World Cup opener against Portugal this evening.
Instead, the man who never lost a match as manager of his country is being unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu as the new manager of Real Madrid.
Lopetegui agreed a three-year deal to replace Zinedine Zidane as coach of the European champions, following the Frenchman’s surprise exit after a third successive Champions League triumph.
But after the deal was made public he found himself dumped by the Spanish FA, with chief executive Luis Rubiales jetting into the team camp in Krasnodar for showdown talks and subsequently axing the 51-year-old.