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La Liga chief: Spain sacking Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui perhaps wrong decision

Free-Kick: Iniesta bids farewell as hose curse strikes Spain, while Neymar and Lukaku hope to step up

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said he will not judge Real Madrid for their role in Spain's disastrous World Cup 2018 campaign, but hit out at federation president Luis Rubiales for acting "without much thought" in firing Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament.

RFEF chief Rubiales sacked the manager who had led Spain through qualifying after it emerged just days before the tournament started that he would be joining Real Madrid at it's conclusion. 

Speaking to AS, Tebas said it was impossible to know what would have happened had Lopetegui remained in charge, but was clear that Rubiales had been too hasty in making such a huge call.

"Yesterday was a very sad day for Spanish football, for the expectations we had and what we all believed was the level of the team," Tebas said. "You never know if the decision about Lopetegui continuing or not had an influence.

"But it is not being opportunist to say that it was taken without much thought. That is without judging or not how Real Madrid behaved."

Some among the local media have pointed the finger at Real Madrid president Florentino Perez for destabilising the national team just before the tournament.

However an online poll run by Madrid-based AS which asked "who was responsible for Spain's exit" had Rubiales top with 52.46 percent of votes cast (108,752) and Perez well behind on 25.14 percent (52,113).

Cristiano Ronaldo's future also remains a big talking point, with Marca's cover story on Tuesday claiming Serie A champions Juventus were increasingly confident of attracting the 33-year-old with a €30-million-a-year contract offer, which is reportedly €5m a season more than Madrid are willing pay.

Madrid fan Tebas said in AS that he hoped Ronaldo remained in Spain.

"[Cristiano] is one of the two best players in the world," he said. "And I want him to play in the Spanish league."

A Ronaldo exit would make it easier for Perez to complete a deal for long-time target Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain, although Madrid strongly rejected a report on Spanish TV Monday night claiming they had made a €310m offer to PSG, and would give the Brazil star a seven-year deal worth €45m a season.

Former Madrid coach and sporting director Jorge Valdano said on "El Transistor" radio show that another PSG forward Kylian Mbappe could be a better long-term investment.

"I believe there is [Madrid] interest [in Neymar], although I don't know about the figures," Valdano said. "He is one of those strategic players who are very important for the marketing department and the football department.

"It is very difficult to find a player like that who sells so much. For immediate impact I would bring Neymar, but as a long-term investment I would bring Mbappe. He is six years younger, he is a forward who can play, scores goals, can break open defences, he will mark the next decade of world football.

"He also looks like a good person. He reminds me of Ronaldo Nazario, when he gets going he seems unstoppable, and then can finish in front of the keeper."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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