Real Madrid to present Lopetegui on Thursday
Real Madrid will present Julen Lopetegui as their head coach on the eve of a Spain World Cup campaign that his appointment has plunged into turmoil.
Lopetegui was set to lead an in-form Spain as one of the favourites for glory at Russia 2018 before Madrid announced him as their surprise choice to succeed Zinedine Zidane on Tuesday.
At that stage the 51-year-old's intention was to lead his country at the World Cup before taking the reins at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) reacted furiously to being blindsided by the negotiations, only finding out about Lopetegui's decision to join Madrid shortly before the news was made public. And the organisation's president Luis Rubiales sensationally confirmed the coach had been sacked on Wednesday.
Spain face Portugal in a keenly anticipated Group B fixture on Friday, with Madrid stalwart Fernando Hierro taking over as boss.
Madrid have timed Lopetegui's unveiling for 7pm Central European Time – an hour after Hierro is set to address his pre-match media conference in Sochi.