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Sports Spain has stunned the soccer world by firing its manager Julen Lopetegui the day before the 2018 World Cup

Spain has fired manager Julen Lopetegui after the coach agreed a deal to join Real Madrid at the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The decision to terminate Lopetegui's contract with the national team comes as a shock, because it arrives one day before the tournament begins.

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Julen Lopetegui play

Julen Lopetegui

(Getty Images)

  • Spain has sacked Julen Lopetegui.
  • The decision to fire Lopetegui comes one day before the 2018 FIFA World Cup begins, and two days before Spain takes on Portugal in a huge Group B match.
  • This is a breaking news story.
  • Read all of Business Insider's World Cup coverage here.

Spain has stunned the soccer world by sacking its manager Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The World Cup kicks off on Thursday when host nation Russia plays Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. As Spain takes on Portugal in a Group B match on Friday, the timing of the decision is shocking.

"We have to decided to fire the national coach," Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales said in a statement, according to The Guardian.

Lopetegui has been sacked because he is set to join Real Madrid in a three-year deal that was made public earlier this week.

Rubiales said: "The Spanish national team is the team of all the Spaniards. We only found out just five minutes before [the Real deal was made public] that he was leaving for Madrid.

"There is a way that you must act, Julen has worked in a great way with the team, but we cannot accept how he has acted in this case."

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