"But, after five minutes, I saw it in the press and we had to react".
Rubiales suggested he had taken the decision personally, as the behaviour of both Lopetegui and Real Madrid had not met the level expected of those involved in Spanish football.
"The RFEF can not stay on the margin of the contractual situation of one of its workers", he said. We have been forced to make this decision. And if Spain's World Cup campaign does stall, it will be fascinating to see who gets the blame: the easy scapegoat Rubiales, the easily led manager Lopetegui or the great temptress Real Madrid.
The man who chose to sack Spain boss Julen Lopetegui two days before the country played their World Cup opener used to play for Hamilton Academical.
"There's a lot to do".
"Real Madrid look for the best coach, that is fine by me". Lopetegui had recently signed a new deal with Spain on May 22 extending his contract until 2020.
Earlier in the day, Spain delayed a press conference at the same venue by well over an hour before Rubiales announced he had dismissed Lopetegui - pointing the finger of blame at Real Madrid, rather than the outgoing coach.
Rubiales, though, insists the squad is entirely focused on Friday's match against Portugal in Sochi. I told them we have an exciting challenge in front of us, and we can not let this affect our focus. He called on the team to say nothing until the national side arrived in Krasnodar. "The national team is the most important we have, the World Cup is the biggest of all".
Rubiales said: "The Spanish national team is the team of all the Spaniards".
Hierro was formerly a defender for Real Madrid and finished playing soccer with the English club Bolton in 2005.
It is an announcement that has come as some surprise to the footballing world, as Lopetegui was not among the favourites to replace the Frenchman at the European champions. Others believe the chaos on the eve of the World Cup just made a bad situation worse. I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much.
He began his career at Real Valladolid, where he spent two seasons in the first team before moving to the Spanish capital.
Rubiales took over a federation which was in the hands of embattled official Angel Maria Villar for almost three decades.