Should Lopetegui have been sacked, just a few days before Spain plays its first match? I’m inclined to think so. If you’re managing a team that’s one of the favorites for the biggest tournament in sports and, instead of devoting yourself fully to preparing your side, you’re secretly whiling away the hours negotiating a contract with someone else … how is that not a breach of trust? Especially if you don’t tell your bosses even when the deal is done — Luis Rubiales got the word from Real Madrid five minutes before they made a public announcement.
But isn’t this classic Real? They don’t care how much confusion this sows in the national federation or among the Spanish side; they wanted their man and they got their man and, for them, there are no other considerations. Real Madrid are the Donald Trump of football clubs.
As for Lopetegui himself, I am betting that he is absolutely thrilled to have been canned. If under his leadership Spain had a bad tournament, or even just a bad game, the Spanish (and for that matter the international) press would have been in a frenzy. Headline: THE WRONG MAN FOR THE JOB?? Lopetegui has to be thinking that he is well out of that.
P.S. You know who’s got to be thrilled about this outcome? Tottenham. I bet they were terrified of losing their manager to RM.