Fernando Hierro, new Spain coach

Hierro will lead Spain in Russia.
Hierro will lead Spain in Russia. / RFEF
  • The Vélez-Málaga man takes over from Julen Lopetegui who was sacked just two days before La Roja's World Cup opener against Portugal

In a whirlwind turn of events, Fernando Hierro will be the man who leads Spain into the World Cup following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui as head coach on Wednesday.

The Vélez-Málaga-born coach takes the reins following a brief second spell as the Spanish FA's (RFEF) sporting director, after Lopetegui was relieved of his duties following his acceptance of an offer to manage Real Madrid without consulting RFEF president Luis Rubiales.

Hierro, who won three Champions League titles during a trophy-laden 14 years with Real Madrid, was first named national team sporting director in 2007, before taking up that role at Malaga for the 2011/12 season.

After that, Real came calling and Hierro was named assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti before going solo with second division side Real Oviedo.

However, after just one season, in which the side finished 8th, he was re-appointed sporting director of the Spain national football team on 27 November 2017.

“A great opportunity”

Speaking ahead of his first training session with the team, Hierro recognised the difficulty of the situation but insisted: “The circumstances are what they are and I accept this responsibility.”

“Everything that has happened these two days should not change our goal of battling to win the World Cup. We all know we have a great opportunity and that must be the total focus,” he said.

“We must thank Fernando for taking on this enormous task in such a difficult moment,” said the RFEF chief at the unveiling. “We wanted to change things as little as possible and the players are delighted and fully committed to him.”