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Fernando Hierro says Spain must forget Julen Lopetegui

'We have no time to mourn': Fernando Hierro says Spain must immediately forget shock Julen Lopetegui sacking and unite ahead of the World Cup

By Alex Martin For Mailonline

Published: 11:48 EDT, 13 June 2018 | Updated: 12:15 EDT, 13 June 2018

Fernando Hierro has called on the Spanish team to immediately move on from the shock departure of Julen Lopetegui, saying they have 'no time to mourn' if they are to compete for the World Cup.

The 50-year-old addressed the media at their World Cup base in Krasnodar for the first time since being appointed Spain's new head coach, replacing Lopetegui after his sacking on Wednesday morning.

While he was keen to wish Lopetegui all the best for the future, Hierro insisted that Spain's World Cup hopes will hinge on their ability to move on from the controversy in time for their opening game against Portugal on Friday. 

Spanish football president Luis Rubiales, right, poses with Spain's new coach Fernando Hierro
Spanish football president Luis Rubiales, right, poses with Spain's new coach Fernando Hierro

Spanish football president Luis Rubiales, right, poses with Spain's new coach Fernando Hierro

Hierro called on the Spanish players to forget the controversy and focus on the World Cup

The 50-year-old said Spanish players have already given him their backing as their new coach
The 50-year-old said Spanish players have already given him their backing as their new coach

The 50-year-old said Spanish players have already given him their backing as their new coach

 


FERNANDO HIERRO -CAREER FACTFILE 

Teams played for: 

Real Valladolid - 1987-89

Real Madrid - 1989-2003

Al Rayyan - 2003-04

Bolton - 2004-05

Teams coached:

Real Madrid (assistant) - 2014-15

Oviedo - 2016-17

International career:

Spain - 88 caps (1989-2002) 

Hierro said: 'We have no time to mourn. We will overcome this. We've come to fight for the World Cup. The team is excited, we have a great opportunity and that must be the focus.

'We have to be positive, opinions are not valid here, we have to turn the page, be positive, think about the players in the delegation and what we represent.'

Lopetegui was dismissed on Wednesday by Spanish football chiefs who were left furious by his decision to join Real Madrid ahead of the tournament.

The 51-year-old was announced as Zinedine Zidane's replacement on Tuesday evening. 

He was then out of his current role just hours later, only to be replaced by a man who played 584 matches for Los Blancos.

Asked how he decided to take the high-stakes role with no time to prepare, Hierro, who was already in Russia as Spain's sporting director, responded: 'If I was not convinced of our chances, I would not be here.

'When the president told me about the possibility, there were three options. One was to say no, one was to leave, the third was to be present, to take a step forward for the Spanish FA and Spanish football.' 

Hierro addresses the media at Spain's World Cup base in Krasnodar on Wednesday evening
Hierro addresses the media at Spain's World Cup base in Krasnodar on Wednesday evening

Hierro addresses the media at Spain's World Cup base in Krasnodar on Wednesday evening

Spanish football president Rubiales thanked Hierro for stepping up to help the national team
Spanish football president Rubiales thanked Hierro for stepping up to help the national team

Spanish football president Rubiales thanked Hierro for stepping up to help the national team

Head of the Spanish FA, Luis Rubiales: said: 'Hierro told me he is ready to help Spain, he's been very generous, I want to thank him for that. We have encountered a difficulty that we are going to overcome, I am sure of it.'  

His appointment comes after Spain hastily called a press conference as reports emerged that Rubiales was outraged by the timing of Lopetegui's announcement.

Following a bizarre morning, during which the Spanish players pleaded with Rubiales to keep Lopetegui in charge, it was decided that the manager's position had become untenable.

Despite a clear desire from the players to keep Lopetegui, Hierro insisted he had the full backing of the team and is confident they will give their all to do the nation proud in Russia. 

Hierro said: 'The feedback I've received is fantastic. is a united group, they know their goals. I know they're going to leave their souls and give 100 per cent. We all know what this means. Nobody gives anything away at a World Cup.'

The ex-Spain international has replaced Julen Lopetegui (c) who was sacked on Wednesday
The ex-Spain international has replaced Julen Lopetegui (c) who was sacked on Wednesday

The ex-Spain international has replaced Julen Lopetegui (c) who was sacked on Wednesday

Speaking at a press conference to confirm the departure of Lopetegui, Rubiales said: 'We thank Julen for all he has done because he is one of the great people responsible for us being in Russia, but we are forced to dismiss him

'I do not feel betrayed, the problem is how things have been done with the total absence of participation of the Spanish Football Federation, that is something we cannot ignore, Lopetegui is an impeccable professional but the process is important.

'The negotiations [between Lopetegui and Real Madrid] have occurred without any information to the Spanish FA and we were informed just five minutes before the press release. There's a way to act that needs to be fulfilled.'

Hierro enjoyed an 18-year professional career, winning three Champions League winner's medals and five La Liga titles during more than a decade at Madrid.

He began his career at Real Valladolid, where he spent two seasons in the first team before moving to the Spanish capital. Having won it all with Madrid, Hierro opted for a change of scenery in 2003, joining Al Rayann in Qatar.

Lopetegui was axed after joining Real Madrid, for whom Hierro played more than 500 games 
Lopetegui was axed after joining Real Madrid, for whom Hierro played more than 500 games 

Lopetegui was axed after joining Real Madrid, for whom Hierro played more than 500 games 

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