'Spain had no choice but to sack Lopetegui' - Allardyce

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The ex-Everton coach feels Real Madrid are to blame for the crisis La Roja find themselves in less than 48 hours before they kick-off their World Cup

Former England manager Sam Allardyce believes Spain had no option but to sack Julen Lopetegui, regardless of the timing on the eve of the World Cup.

La Roja have been hit by a tumultuous 24 hours in Russia, with Lopetegui relieved of his duties by the Spanish Football Federation (SEF) after it was revealed he would be taking over at Real Madrid come the end of the tournament.

Luis Rubiales, president of the SEF, claimed he only became aware of Lopetegui's decision to replace Zinedine Zidane at Santiago Bernabeu five minutes before Tuesday's official announcement.

So angry was he at the apparent lack of transparency that he missed the voting for the 2026 World Cup hosts at FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday, instead opting to fly to Spain's base in Krasnodar to fire Lopetegui in person.

Sam Allardyce William Hill

And Allardyce - who himself was dismissed from the England job in sensational circumstances following a meeting with an undercover journalist where it was claimed he gave advice on how to "get around" player transfer rules - has no sympathy for Lopetegui and holds Madrid as culpable in derailing the national team's chances in Russia.

Speaking at the launch of the William Hill Arms Pub, Allardyce told Goal: "If I was the Spanish Football Federation I would be furious with Real Madrid. It's right on the eve of the World Cup and it has left them in a very embarassing and difficult situation.

"I couldn't see any other option for them than to sack him if they had no idea this was happening. It's a very difficult predicament that they would not have been expecting to be in, and let's hope it doesn't affect the players when they get there."

Lopetegui has been replaced for the tournament by former Madrid captain Fernando Hierro, who spent a year playing under Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers during the latter years of his career.

And the former Everton, Newcastle and Crystal Palace coach feels Hierro will still be able to get the best out of his players given how many, if not all, of them will have been through the sackings of mutiple managers in the past.

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"If they are comfortable with the man that replaces him then they will be able to get on with it," he said. "Managers come and managers go."

Spain kick off their World Cup campaign in Sochi on Friday against Portugal before rounding off Group B with fixtures against Morocco and Iran.

Sam Allardyce was speaking at the William Hill Arms, the pub which will offer fans the ultimate England watching experience including expert analysis, plus free food and drink. For your chance to win exclusive access to England’s group games with Emile Heskey and Sam Allardyce at the pub, head to William Hill's Twitter or Facebook pages. England are 16/1 with William Hill to win the World Cup. #ThisIsMore #itscominghome 

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