Spain sacked Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup after Tuesday’s announcement he will join Real Madrid after the tournament.
The decision to sack the manager less than 48 hours before Spain’s first group game with Portugal has stunned fans back home.
Lopetegui is returning to Spain this afternoon and was confronted by a hoard of reporters as he arrived at the airport in Russia to board his flight.
He said: “I’m very sad but we’re hoping that we can win the World Cup.
“My message is: ‘We have a magnificent team and hopefully we can go to win the World Cup’ but I cannot say any more than that.”
Real’s confirmation of Lopetegui’s appointment came in a three-sentence statement on their Website.
But it caused uproar at the Spanish Football Federation, who were only told about the appointment five minutes before Real went public.
The players are said to have called on Lopetegui to remain in charge of the national side but Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales held a press conference on Wednesday morning to confirm the departure.
Lopetegui will now likely spend the summer assessing Real Madrid’s options in the transfer window.
The club are yet to make any moves for fresh recruits, less than two weeks after Zinedine Zidane quit his post as manager.
Source : EXPRESS