MADRID (AP) — Julen Lopetegui says being fired as Spain coach two days before its opening match at the World Cup was "possibly since the death of my mother the saddest day of my life."
Lopetegui made the remarks at his presentation as Real Madrid coach on Thursday.
Lopetegui was fired by Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales on Wednesday — a day after Madrid made the unexpected announcement that Lopetegui had agreed to leave the national team for European champion Madrid after the World Cup in Russia.
Rubiales said Madrid and Lopetegui kept him in the dark until five minutes before the club made the deal public.
Lopetegui says he will watch Spain's opener against Portugal on Friday and "cheer just like any other Spaniard."