MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish Football Federation has appointed Luis Enrique as Spain’s new national team coach on a two-year deal, the president of the federation Luis Rubiales said during a news conference yesterday.
“The decision was unanimous. I like his commitment and he has turned down better paid jobs in order to coach Spain. He’s a coach who completes all the requirements the Federation was looking for,” Rubiales said.
A former midfielder for Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Luis Enrique won two Liga titles, one Champions League and three King’s Cups as Barca coach between 2014 and 2017.
He also coached Celta Vigo and Barca’s reserve team and has spent the past year on sabbatical since leaving the Nou Camp in June 2017.
Luis Enrique replaces interim coach Fernando Hierro, who took charge of the team during this year’s World Cup after Julen Lopetegui was sacked a day before the tournament began for the manner in which he negotiated a move to Real Madrid.
Hierro said on Sunday he was leaving his role as sporting director with the federation, following a disastrous campaign which saw the 2010 winners dumped out of the World Cup at the last 16 stage by hosts Russia following a penalty shootout.
Earlier yesterday the federation announced Jose Molina has replaced Hierro as sporting director.
Rubiales also said before Luis Enrique’s appointment that Spain’s players had no say in who the new coach would be.
Luis Enrique’s first game in charge will be a UEFA Nations League game away to England at Wembley Stadium on September 8.
As Barcelona coach Luis Enrique worked with Spain internationals Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, as well as Andres Iniesta who has already announced his retirement from international football. Pique is yet to announce whether he plans to fulfil his earlier pledge to quit the Spain team after the World Cup, which he made in 2016.