Hours after the sacking of Julen Lopetegui as Spain head coach, Royal Spanish Football Federation (FREF) president Luis Rubiales has come out to dismiss rumors of mutiny from players in the Spain camp.
Lopetegui was given his cards on the eve of the World Cup after it emerged that he had agreed to succeed Zinadine Zidane at Real Madrid after the tournament in Russia, despite only recently signing a contract extension with La Roja.
There have been reports that players begged for Lopetegui to remain in charge after the news was broken to them, which is what may have led to the buzz that a section of the team is on a tacit rebellion.
The stunning move is bound to be of big tactical and psychological impact on Spain’s world cup campaign, and knowing that, Rubiales has come out to own up and defend the association’s decision.
“I have listened to everyone, but the decision is solely mine,” he said in an interview with El Partidazo de COPE yesterday.
“The players are determined to make a great campaign,” he added when asked about the alleged rebellion. “There’s no mutiny. They are all doing well.”
The FA president had earlier asserted that he had only learnt of Luis Rubiales decision to join Los Blancos “five minutes” before Tuesday’s announcement.
The Spanish FA have appointed former Real Madrid player Fernando Hierro as the new head coach, as La Roja prepare for group matches against Portugal, Iran and Morocco.
It remains inexplicable how the team will adjust to the new management in such as short window but Rubiales believes the warm welcome Hierro received at the Spain camp is an indication the players have already moved on.
“The team have welcomed Hierro and have promised they will be with him to the death, with Ramos very well acting as captain” he said.
Spain will be looking to relive their heroics of 2010 after a disastrous campaign in Brazil saw them bow out in the group stage.
Their first match in Russia will be against reining European champions Portugal at the Fisht Stadium on Friday.