Spain had no choice but to sack Julen Lopetegui

Spain have sacked manager Julen Lopetegui, just two days before the World Cup kicks off in Russia, and it was a decision they simply had no choice but to make.

It was incredibly naive of Lopetegui to think that he could remain in place having agreed to join Real Madrid once the tournament concluded. Unbelievably, he did not even inform the Spanish Federation of his intentions and must have known, given the political nature of Spanish football, how disruptive his decision would be.

You would, in effect, have had the manager of Real Madrid managing a group of Barcelona players, an absolutely untenable situation.

Failing to discuss it with the Spanish FA in advance also indicates that Lopetegui knew full well that they would never have sanctioned it. Lopetegui should have waited until after the finals to begin talks with Real Madrid and the fact that he did not shows he put his own personal ambitions before those of the national team.

Many managers know before a tournament whether they will be staying or not when it ends. Bobby Robson was told before the 1990 World Cup that his contract would not be renewed and took up a management position at PSV Eindhoven when the tournament ended. The difference is that most are not manager of a club and national team simultaneously and in a position where accusations of split loyalties could be levelled at them.

There is a way to conduct business that is acceptable and there is a way that is not, and Lopetegui chose to do it in the most disruptive and thoughtless way possible. He has paid the ultimate price and rightfully so.

It is, unfortunately, the Spanish team and fans that could end up being the biggest casualties.

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