Lopetegui: No regrets over leaving Spain team to join Real Madrid

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Madrid, Sep 4 (IANS) Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui has defended his decision to sign for Real Madrid shortly after extending his contract to lead the Spanish national team to the 2020 European Championship.

Lopetegui’s decision led to him being sacked by the Spanish Football Federation on the eve of the World Cup and could have been one of the main reasons for Spain’s disappointing display in Russia where they lost to the hosts on penalties in the last 16, reports Xinhua news agency.

Speaking on Spanish radio on Monday night, Lopetegui defended his actions. “I merely took a decision which I would take again, in the most honest way possible. I don’t regret anything,” he said.

“I still think I did the right thing from the moment I said ‘yes’ to Real Madrid. I agreed to sign for Real Madrid and I would do that again.”

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“I hope things go really well for the Spain team and (new coach) Luis Enrique, I am a fervent supporter of the team, but that is an era in my life that has finished and now I am focused on coaching Real Madrid, which is an objective large enough to stop you thinking about other things,” commented Lopetegui.

He admitted that pre-season at his new club had been “irregular” due to players arriving after the World Cup, but added that “we tried to implant our style of play as the footballers arrived. You need time to adapt, but that is normal and we are trying to do it in a natural way.”

The summer saw Cristiano Ronaldo leave Madrid and Lopetegui said he didn’t try to stop the Portuguese star joining Juventus.

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“He had clearly shown he wanted to leave and the club wanted to make it easy for him; I respected that strategy,” he commented.

Finally he insisted that despite Ronaldo’s departure, he was “delighted” with the squad he has inherited. “We have very good players in every line and the squad has the capacity to fulfil its objectives,” he concluded.

–IANS

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