Spanish preparations were thrown into turmoil as Lopetegui lost his job following Tuesday’s announcement he would take over at Real Madrid after the World Cup in Russia.
5 things you may not know about new Spain coach Fernando Hierro
Fernando Hierro will lead Spain at the World Cup having replaced sacked Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament.
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Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things you may not know about the former Spain and Real captain.
Hierro takes the reins at Spain with just one season of managerial experience to call upon.
After a spell as assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Hierro spent a season in the Segunda Division as manager of Real Oviedo – but left after a year having missed out on the play-offs by two points.
That’s my goal
While known more for his tenacious tackling and ability to mix it with the toughest men either in defence or midfield, Hierro was also a prolific goalscorer for his country.
He remains fifth on Spain’s all-time goalscoring list having hit 29 goals in his 89 caps – with only David Villa, Raul, Fernando Torres and David Silva having scored more.
Football in the family
Hierro’s two older brothers also played professional football in Spain – albeit not achieving similar recognition to their youngest sibling.
Both Antonio and Manolo were defenders, playing alongside one another for six years at Malaga. Manolo also had a short stint at Barcelona but never appeared in the first-team at the Nou Camp.
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Hierro may have only spent one season as a player at Bolton before announcing his retirement but he became an instant hit with Trotters fans.
He made 35 appearances under Sam Allardyce but that was still enough for him to be voted the ninth best player to represent Bolton at the Macron Stadium in a poll run by the club in 2017.
No ‘I’ in team – but there is in ‘individual awards’…
As if lifting five LaLiga titles and holding three Champions League winners’ medals was not enough – Hierro was awarded several personal accolades throughout his career.
Named UEFA’s best defender in 1997/98, he also made the FIFA XI in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and was included in the FIFA World Cup team of the tournament in 2002.