Ex-Spain coach Julen Lopetegui 'very sad' about his exit ahead of World Cup

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Disappointed: Julen Lopetegui

Sacked Spain coach Julen Lopetegui admits he is “very sad” about his shock departure from the World Cup.

The 51-year-old was relieved of his duties on the eve of the tournament after Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales learned – just five minutes before the official announcement was made – of his deal to become Real Madrid manager after the tournament.

“I am very sad, but hoping that we have a magnificent World Cup and that we win,” Lopetegui told reporters from Cadena SER and COPE as left Krasnodar airport for a flight to Madrid.

Former Spain coach Javier Clemente has accused Rubiales of being “clueless” in his role.

“Speaking in football terms, in terms of what a club is and what sports management is, Rubiales is clueless,” he told radio station Onda Vasca.

“He is a rookie and his arguments are always a bit dictatorial.”

The Spain squad, with director of football Fernando Hierro now in charge, left Krasnodar bound for Sochi on Thursday ahead of their World Cup opener with Portugal at the weekend.

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Watch: France star Kylian Mbappe says he will be fit for World Cup opener ahead Australia

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France forward Kylian Mbappe has played down an injury scare after he limped out of training on Tuesday afternoon as Les Bleus stepped up their preparations for the World Cup.

Didier Deschamps’ squad were taking part in an open training session at the Glebovets Stadium in Istra when Paris St Germain striker Mbappe went down following a challenge with defender Adil Rami.

Here’s what the youngster had to say…

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Watch: Germany coach Joachim Low urges fans not to boo Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan

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Manager's backing: Mesut Oezil (left) and Ilkay Guendogan

Head coach Joachim Low has pleaded with Germany fans not to boo Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan after they were involved in a political row.

Ozil and Gundogan were both born in Gelsenkirchen to Turkish parents and were targeted by fans during the warm-up friendlies after posing for a picture alongside Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The world champions begin their defence against Mexico in Moscow on Sunday and Low has vowed to protect his two key players.

Watch what we said below:

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