Perez and Lopetegui sharply criticize Rubiales
Just one day after his dismissal as Spanish national coach, Julen Lopetegui (51) was introduced as Real Madrid’s new coach. President Florentino Perez focused his speech on the Spanish president before Lopetegui reported one of the saddest days of his life.
Spain captain Sergio Ramos and the new World Cup coach Fernando Hierro had just spoken in Sochi, when the presentation of the new coach began in Madrid. Real will be coached from next season by Julen Lopetegui, who was only relieved of his duties as Spanish national coach on Wednesday. At 7.14 pm the presentation began with an emotional highlight video of the former goalkeeper with a real past. Visibly moved, he sat in the front row with his wife and three children.
After a long applause, Real President Florentino Perez entered the stage with a serious expression. Without much emotional emotion, he immediately came to the point: “We actually wanted to do it after the World Cup, but because of various circumstances we are here now. It is a great satisfaction to be able to present someone here who knows our house perfectly.”
“You had two dreams that could have been perfectly combined”
Addressing Lopetegui, Perez added: “I know it’s a day of mixed feelings for you because you dreamt of the World Cup. You had two dreams that could have been perfectly combined: winning the World Cup with Spain and becoming Real Madrid coach”. Association President Luis Rubiales, however, had something against it that no one in the Royal League could really understand.
“There is no case in the history of football where this has been interpreted as disloyalty. We reached an agreement within a few hours and decided to do this as quickly as possible as an act of transparency and before the World Cup to avoid unrest that could have influenced the national team,” Perez added, adding: “What should have been a normal process led to insulted pride. There have been dozens of cases where contracts were signed before and during a major tournament – in no way was Real Madrid. “We must all work together to face those who want to damage our image.”
“Not a single argument” for expulsion
Perez wasn’t finished. “It is still difficult for us to understand why this agreement should have upset such a hopeful Spanish team. There is not a single argument that justifies Lopetegui not sitting on the Spanish bench tomorrow.” This is how it’s gonna be.
Yesterday was the saddest day of my life since my mother died.
Julen Lopetegui on his expulsion
Then Lopetegui was also allowed on stage, thanking on this “highly emotional” day for the trust of those responsible. Asked about the dismissal, he replied: “Yesterday was the saddest day of my life since my mother’s death.” Lopetegui struggled with tears and postulated that Thursday was “the happiest day of my life”. “I was fortunate enough to play here in the youth section, also in the first team and to live the values of Real Madrid.”
He must now accept the new “role”. “Tomorrow I’ll cheer for the team like any other Spaniard.” Of course, Lopetegui was also asked about Rubiales. His comment: “Loyalty means telling the truth. When there was something to say, he was the first to know. I wanted to give a press conference, but it didn’t happen because he was very far away. The contract had to be signed before the World Cup. I said it because I wanted to be honest with everyone and the players understood very well.”
“Respect and affection” from the players
Lopetegui did not want to give away “more details” afterwards. His main concern was “to show transparency”. “We acted professionally and honestly,” Lopetegui also said to Perez. “It was a surreal day,” the 51-year-old reiterated, concluding: “The beauty was the subsequent respect and affection of the players.