Barack Obama gave me his view on Julen Lopetegui sacking – Spain FA chief
Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said former United States President Barack Obama gave him his view on the sacking of Julen Lopetegui as Spain coach before the start of the World Cup.
The RFEF dismissed Lopetegui when it discovered he had agreed to coach Real Madrid after the tournament despite being under contract with the national team.
Obama and his family travelled to Spain on holiday earlier this month and spent a few days in Madrid, where he met Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and King Felipe VI, as well as Rubiales, at a reception.
“What surprised me is that he knew much more than I thought he did,” Rubiales told Cadena Cope radio. “There was a reference to certain issues in which he said some decisions made in the United States had a patriotic tone whereas here, they were more difficult to take, something along those lines.
“What he tried to tell me is that inaction generally produces less rejections and less criticism, but that at times, you have to act. And, from what I can gather, he and his entourage were in line with the decision we had taken. I never doubted my decision, I had it clear, it was a case of values, philosophy … but I respect all points of view.”
Fernando Hierro was appointed caretaker manager after Lopetegui was sacked, but Spain were eliminated in the round of 16 by Russia. Luis Enrique, the former Barcelona coach, was appointed to replace Lopetegui earlier this month.
Rubiales’ comments about the meeting with Obama spread quickly via social media, with many users expressing their surprise at the comments and many others mocking him.
Elected to lead the RFEF in May, Rubiales has been described as a “gold mine” by Spanish daily ABC because of the content of his recent comments.