JULEN LOPETEGUI insists today is the “happiest day of my life” after being unveiled as the new Real Madrid manager.
Lopetegui was announced as Zinedine Zidane’s successor just one day after being sacked by Spain ahead of tomorrow’s World Cup opener against Portugal.
Reuters Real Madrid have unveiled Julen Lopetegui as their new boss
The Spanish FA claimed he went behind their back to strike a deal with the Champions League holders, bringing his unbeaten reign as Spain boss to a sorry end.
However, the heartbroken boss is looking to the future and believes his former side can still win football’s greatest prize under new gaffer Fernando Hierro, telling reporters: “You have to be strong here and we’re going to use that to keep growing in footballing terms.
“Together, we want to try and win everything. From there, I just want to say thanks to everyone. I feel part of the Real Madrid family.
“And yesterday, after the death of my mother, was the saddest of my life. But today is the happiest day of my life.
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Reuters Lopetegui claims it’s the ‘happiest day of my life’ despite being sacked by Spain
“A cycle has been completed and I’m very, very happy. Yes of course [I will watch Spain against Portugal], I feel a part of this team.
“Loyalty is telling the truth. When there was something to know, [the Spanish FA president] was the first to know.
“I wanted to give the press conference that same day but he was far away so I had to wait for him. Then what happened during those hours, I don’t know.
“We just wanted to be honest with everyone, to make the agreement public. Hiding it would have been bad.
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Getty Lopetegui was fired just days before Spain’s World Cup opener against Portugal
“The players took it absolutely fine. They trained well. And I’ve nothing else to say. I’ll be cheering on that magnificent group of players. I’m sure they’ll make us world champions.
“We wanted to be clear when there was something concrete, not before. He [the Spanish FA president] congratulated me, he was cordial, and then I don’t know.
“I’m calm, we’re all quite calm, we acted honestly and professionally. If the president wants to act in a certain way, then I don’t know. We’ve acted professionally, honestly above all.
“One of the nice things was the respect and affection shown to me by the players. I think respect is earned and we earned it. My and my staff worked really hard and they [the Spanish FA] took our dream away from us.”