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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

BREAKING: Luis Enrique steps down as Spain head coach after early World Cup exit

Former Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique has stepped down as the head coach of Spain’s National team after an early World Cup exit in Qatar.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have announced that Luis Enrique will no longer be the manager of the Spanish national team, effective immediately.

Luis Enrique took over the Spanish national team in 2018 following the World Cup in Russia and with a brief break in 2019.

Previously his spell was considered fairly successful, reaching the semi-final of the Euros, but their dramatic exit on penalties to Morocco in the World Cup Round of 16 meant that a renewal of his contract was not considered by the RFEF.

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The Asturian was thanked by the RFEF for his work, deciding that a ‘new project’ was needed in order to progress the Spain side. As of yet, they have not announced a successor.

Under-21 coach Luis de la Fuente has been linked with the job as the favourite in the last 24 hours, with Marcelino Garcia Toral and Roberto Martinez mentioned as alternatives.

A controversial coach, Luis Enrique became even more of a marmite figure in charge of La Roja. Unafraid to leave out big names such as Sergio Ramos while calling up relative novices in Pedri and Gavi, his strong character defined the national team while he was in charge.

With defined style based on pressing, possession and vertical passes, it was a bitter end for Spain to crash out without demonstrating the qualities his team became known for. Ultimately, they exited the World Cup in the same fashion as Spain did in 2018 in Russia, which seemed to end any hopes of him renewing his expiring deal.

It is not clear what is next for Luis Enrique, who will likely take a break from management until an attractive opportunity is presented to him.

Their full statement reads has follows.

“The RFEF would like to thank Luis Enrique and his entire coaching staff at the helm of the senior national team in recent years.

“The sports management of the RFEF has transferred to the president a report in which it is determined that a new project should start for the Spanish Football Team, with the aim of continuing with the growth achieved in recent years thanks to the work carried out by Luis Enrique and his collaborators. Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the Sporting Director, José Francisco Molina, have communicated the decision to the coach.

“The Asturian coach managed to give a new impetus to the national team since his arrival, in 2018, through a profound renewal that has consolidated a generational change in the team and in Spanish football.

“Luis Enrique qualified for two Final Four of the UEFA Nations League, of the three he played as coach; and reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 with his own stamp and through a defined style. He opted for young talent and has sown hope for the future of the Spanish team.

“The RFEF energetically wishes Luis Enrique and his team the best of luck in their future professional projects. The coach has earned the love and admiration of his team in the national team and of the entire Federation, which will always be his home.”

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