Julen Lopetegui’s appointment as the new manager of Real Madrid has cast fresh doubts over the futures of Cristiano Ronaldo, David de Gea and Gareth Bale.
The shock announcement put Friday’s World Cup match with Ronaldo’s Portugal in a very different light.
Lopetegui said in an interview with Spanish television at the start of the week: “Ronaldo’s future is not my concern.”
The Spain coach’s excellent relationship with De Gea, will also see Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, make another attempt at getting the 27-year-old goalkeeper from Manchester United.
For Bale, his camp were hopeful of Madrid recruiting a coach, who would build his team around the Welshman and the club briefed them on Monday, that Andre Villas-Boas had been offered to them.
Villas-Boas was instrumental in Bale changing position at Tottenham and playing well enough in his final season to earn his £85m move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
But by the time those rumours began to circulate, Madrid were already finalising Lopetegui’s three-year deal.