Sacked Spain coach Julen Lopetegui admits he is “very sad” about his shock departure from the World Cup.

The 51-year-old was relieved of his duties on the eve of the tournament after Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales learned – just five minutes before the official announcement was made – of his deal to become Real Madrid manager after the tournament.

“I am very sad, but hoping that we have a magnificent World Cup and that we win,” Lopetegui told reporters from Cadena SER and COPE as left Krasnodar airport for a flight to Madrid.

Former Spain coach Javier Clemente has accused Rubiales of being “clueless” in his role.

“Speaking in football terms, in terms of what a club is and what sports management is, Rubiales is clueless,” he told radio station Onda Vasca.

“He is a rookie and his arguments are always a bit dictatorial.”

Russia Soccer WCup SpainDirector of football Fernando Hierro has stepped into the breach left after Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales sacked Julen Lopetegui (Manu Fernandez/AP)

The Spain squad, with director of football Fernando Hierro now in charge, left Krasnodar bound for Sochi on Thursday ahead of their World Cup opener with Portugal at the weekend.