​The Spanish FA have sacked manager Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the 2018 World Cup, after the 51-year-old was confirmed as ​Real Madrid's new manager on Tuesday. 

The decision came after a morning of meetings with RFEF president Luis Rubiales and Lopetegui, with a number of senior players in La Roja's squad reportedly intervening on behalf of the manager to try and keep him in place.

Rubiales had said on his arrival to Spain's World Cup base: "This is not the time to talk, but we will make the decision that best suits the squad, we will do things responsibly."

The decision was announced in a press conference on Wednesday morning, which was pushed back multiple times as frantic conversations took place behind the scenes. 

Quoted at the press conference by ​ESPN, he said: "I very much admire Julen and respect him greatly. He seems to be a top coach and that has made it more difficult to make this decision."To win is very important. To have the best coach very important. But, above everything, is acting in the right way. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end, it will make us stronger."

He added: "The federation cannot be left outside the negotiation of one of its employees and find out just five minutes before a public announcement. If anybody wants to talk to one of our employees, they have to speak to us, too. 

"That is basic, as this is the team of all Spaniards. The national team is the most important team we have and the World Cup is the biggest [competition] of all."