NEWS | 14/06/2018
It's an event we hoped would be happening following the end of the World Cup and that we would have liked to conduct following another triumph for our Spanish national team. However, a series of circumstances have seen us end up here today, full of excitement ahead of a new era which starts here for all of us madridistas. I want to express my great satisfaction at presenting our new Real Madrid head coach. The madridistas today welcome someone who knows our home very well and has shown himself to be a consummate professional in recent years. Welcome, Julen Lopetegui.
You've played for and coached Castilla, been a first-team player for Real Madrid. From today you're taking on the responsibility of coaching a team of legendary status that has won three Champions Leagues in a row, and four in the last five years.
Dear Julen, today you have come back home, having led the Spanish national team through qualification for the Russia World Cup in marvellous fashion. It was an impeccable feat, achieved without losing a single one of the 20 games you oversaw for our national side. I know today is an emotional day for you and your family, dear Julen, but I also believe in many ways it's a day of mixed feelings because I know you dreamt of winning the World Cup. You had two dreams within your grasp, and they were perfectly compatible. The first was to see Spain crowned world champions again and your other great dream was to lead your beloved Real Madrid, something which comes true today. That's why, starting today, our club's millions of fans will thank you for it, with their passion, strength and affection, and I know the same goes for all those which make up this great institution, and above all, our players.
Dear friends, I inevitably must address the events of the last couple of days. Real Madrid and Julen Lopetegui had reached an agreement in a matter of hours. An agreement which we came to in exercising both parties' liberties, an agreement to work together following the conclusion of the World Cup, and of course, always respecting the clauses and terms of his contract. We believe the agreement had to be revealed quickly and before the World Cup began, and this immediacy had a clear goal. It was a show of transparency and normality in order to avoid any kind of speculation or rumours.
It's happened time and again in football, that a national team coach, as he is absolutely free to do, comes to an agreement with a club team to start after the World Cup, or a European, American, African or any such other competition around the world. As for the fact that this agreement has been taken as a sign of disloyalty that could have had any effect on the triumphs and challenges being pursued, I'd like to say that anyone who confuses these facts with any sign of disloyalty have a warped view of individuals and institutions which we have thankfully moved on from in modern, 21st-century Spain. And for those who have spoken of concealment, I'd like to state that nothing could be further from the truth. We arrived at an agreement in a matter of hours, and we decided to make it public immediately as a show of transparency, in particular before the World Cup to avoid leaks or reactions which could harm the efforts of our national team during the tournament.
I notified the president of the Federation of the agreement reached with Julen Lopetegui. An agreement that concerns only the two parties involved, Julen Lopetegui and Real Madrid, in exercising our freedoms and, as I have already said, always respecting the contract in force.
What should have been a normal occurrence, as it seemed initially, calling a press joint conference for the president of the Federation and the national coach, quickly turned into an absurd reaction driven by pride, misunderstanding, and fuelled by people who will take any opportunity to discredit Real Madrid. Just hours later, the president of the Spanish Football Federation engaged in a disproportionate response, that was unjust and without precedent in similar cases throughout footballing history. In recent days, the media have recalled some of the most well-known cases, including Miljanic, Kubala, Luis Aragonés, Scolari, Hiddink, Van Gaal, Conte and several other less-known managers who signed contracts with other clubs before or even during a big tournament. It's true that the club involved has never been Real Madrid before. A club which, all the while, feels extremely proud to have contributed to the prestige and the successes of the Spanish national team.
That's why I always maintain that the most important thing is the unity of all madridismo, which is growing exponentially in Spain and throughout the world, seeing it maintain its status as the most loved, respected and admired club in the world. And we have to keep working together to face up to those who look to disrespect the image of Real Madrid. Those who know me well, and I've been here a while, they know that I'm not one to play the victim, but the time has come for all of us madridistas to stand up to this movement that does nothing more than harm the image of our club, despite the fact we're enjoying one of the most extraordinary periods in our history.
We're very surprised and we simply cannot understand why this agreement could have affected a dressing room full of players with an enormous desire to win games and unrivalled commitment to being crowned world champions once again, which is something we all hope can come true. We're talking about top-level footballers, consummate professionals. A decision of this kind will not affect their sporting performance, as has been proved time and again by similar cases around the world. I genuinely believe there is not a single justifiable argument as to why Julen Lopetegui should not be sitting in the dugout with the national team tomorrow. The efforts and hopes of two years' hard work by Julen Lopetegui have been marred.
We're sorry he's not been able to fight for this dream, which was to win the World Cup at the helm of the Spanish national team. But today is an important day for us all. We've got the satisfaction of securing a wonderful coach, and the desire to keep making history together. Today, madridismo has its new coach in Julen, a man who is fulfilling one of his greatest dreams. A dream which, as he knows, is an enormous and thrilling challenge that very few are able to take on.
Dear Julen, you have our full support and affection. I want to thank you for being here and give you a warm welcome home, and to Real Madrid.