David de Gea refuses to rule out a move to Real Madrid

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It remains very possible that the Spanish FA - known as the RFEF - will decide to terminate his employment as Spain boss, right on the brink of the World Cup.

Lopetegui is out for the "Real Madrid case": "We have chose to release Lopetegui", said the president of the RFEF Luis Rubiales.

"I understand that Real Madrid want to have the best of coaches but the national team belongs to all of Spain and this is not the way to do things", added Rubiales. "There are rules that you have to adhere to", said Rubiales to justify the sacking. There were also questions about how Lopetegui would be able to fully focus on the national team while also having to discuss off-season signings for his new club.

Addressing the media in Russia, Rubiales revealed he had only been told of Real's decision five minutes before they announced Lopetegui's appointment.

Rubiales continued; "I'm sure this will, in time, make us stronger".

Lopetegui was announced as the Real Madrid coach on Tuesday.

Spain plays its first group stage game on Friday against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

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Spain begin their campaign to regain the trophy from holders Germany on Friday evening, when they take on Portugal, with Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia set to open the tournament on Thursday afternoon. I have spoken with the players, and I can guarantee that they will do everything they can with the new coaching staff, we are in a very hard situation.

Of course, with Lopetegui joining Barcelona's El Clasico rivals, it's no wonder Xavi agrees with the decision to get rid of him ahead of the World Cup. "I have spoken with the players and I can guarantee they will do everything, along with the new coach, to take the team as far as possible".

There were also rumours the team's senior players, including captain Sergio Ramos, had called for the former Porto coach to stay in charge for the tournament.

The club announces that Julen Lopetegui will coach the first team for the next three seasons. "When we know we will tell you", he said. We have been obliged to make this decision. I know there's going to be criticism whatever I do. I have a very close relationship with the players, as with Julen, it's a very complex situation, the most complex one I could find.

"I do not feel betrayed because Julen has done a relentless job, but we are forced to move on this because of how things have been done", Rubiales continued.

"I admire and respect Lopetegui a lot".