Real Madrid president Florentino Perez called the Spanish FA decision to sack Julen Lopetegui an “absurd reaction” as he introduced the club’s new manager on Thursday.
Real Madrid on Tuesday shocked everyone by announcing Lopetegui as Zinedine Zidane’s replacement on the Bernabeu bench once this summer’s tournament was over.
A day later, Spain chief Luis Rubiales reacted to what he saw as a betrayal by immediately firing the coach just two days before Spain’s opening game.
Lopetegui flew back from Russia on Wednesday night and was at the Bernabeu on Thursday to sign his contract with Perez and be presented to the media. Many of the questions centered around who was to blame for the firing, but Perez and Lopetegui both said they had always acted with full clarity and transparency.
“There’s no argument that justifies Julen Lopetegui not being on the Spain bench tomorrow,” Perez said.
The event started with Perez making a long prepared speech in which he said Rubiales’ actions in firing Lopetegui were deliberately aimed at hurting the image of Real Madrid.
“We wanted to do this event after the World Cup, after another win by the national team,” Perez said. “But a series of events mean we are here today.
“Real Madrid and Lopetegui made an agreement to work together, always respecting the clauses of all contracts. We reached an agreement very quickly [on Tuesday], in a few hours, and wanted to make a show of transparency, to avoid all rumours and speculation. I told the federation president about the agreement, which both sides were free to make.
“There was an absurd reaction of misunderstanding and pride, aimed hurting the prestige of Real Madrid and damaging the image of our club in one of greatest periods of our history.”