Julen Lopetegui has been officially unveiled as the new manager of Real Madrid after he was sacked by Spain on eve of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Spanish Football Federation (SFF) sacked Lopetegui on Wednesday after he was announced as next Real Madrid coach on Tuesday despite having committed his future to Spain’s national team by signing a deal until 2020.
Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales claimed he was only aware Lopetegui had agreed on a deal five minutes before Real announced it.
Speaking at his unveiling at a press conference on Thursday evening, the former Real goalkeeper, said: ‘We will try and win everything. I just want to thank everyone, I feel like part of the Real family. Yesterday, after the death of my mother, was the saddest of my life, but today is the happiest day of my life.’
Before Lopetegui spoke, Real president Florentino Perez accused the Spanish FA of ‘disrespecting’ Real and attempting to ‘destroy our image’ in an extraordinary statement.
He said: ‘We wanted to have this act after the World Cup, a successful World Cup for our national team. However circumstances mean we are here now, and we are delighted to welcome the new manager of our team.
‘I know for you, Julen, today is a day of a lot of feelings, strange feelings, as you wanted to be world champion, you wanted to make Spain champion of the world and then be manager of your dear Real Madrid.
‘Inevitably there will be some comments about what has happened, but Real and Julen made an agreement to work together after the World Cup, respecting his contract. We wanted to do it before the World Cup to make it transparent and avoid rumours.
‘There is no precedent that a manager agrees to become manager of a team after a competition and that agreement has been interpreted as disloyal. If you think it is, well, that is not how we do things in modern Spain. It is not true at all.
‘We wanted to make it transparent and clear to prevent leaks that could damage Spain during the World Cup. This agreement seemed all normal, but then it was a reaction of pride from the FA president which has disrespected Real Madrid.