Spain will face into their opening Group C fixture against Portugal without the man who led them to the World Cup after Julen Lopetegui was sacked by the Spanish FA when it was announced by Real Madrid that the national coach was to take over at the Bernabeu after the World Cup is over.
Spanish FA's sporting director Fernando Hierro was named as Lopetegui's successor with the 50-year-old holding his first press conference as manager yesterday.
While Hierro was trying to calm the situation in Russia Lopetegui was flying back to his native Spain, and today the 51-year-old took part in a press conference with Madrid president Florentino Perez to give his side of the story, and the former Madrid player claimed that he did not act improperly throughout the process:
I am very relaxed, all of us are, we have acted in a fully professional and honest way. If someone wants to understand things another way, they can. But we have been professional, honest, and clear.
There are many precedents [of national coach moving to club after tournament]. We tried to be transparent, I am very clear that I have been fully loyal, no doubts.
When there was something to say the first person to know was [Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales]. I wanted to give a press conference that day but could not. I am clear that the only motive to announce it was to be honest and transparent.
Lopetegui revealed that yesterday was, after the death of his mother, 'the saddest day' of his life, but also said that today was 'the happiest', and he wished the Spanish national team success as they continue their World Cup campaign without him.
The former goalkeeper has signed a three year deal at the Bernabeu, succeeding Zinedine Zidane who left the club after winning his third consecutive Champions League as manager.