Del Bosque leaves Spain with clear conscience

MADRID • Outgoing Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has no regrets as he prepares to leave his post at the end of the month after eight years in charge, during which they won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

He called time on his tenure after Spain's exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Italy in the first knockout round and will formally leave the post when his contract expires on July 31.

The Spanish Football Federation is expected to appoint his successor straight after that date, with former Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla coach Joaquin Caparros the favourite for the role.

Del Bosque enjoyed a dream start as coach after succeeding Luis Aragones in 2008, leading Spain to World Cup glory and then helping them retain the European Championship two years later.

Spain then suffered a shock group-stage elimination at the 2014 World Cup and lost 0-2 to Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016 after finishing second in their group behind Croatia.

Asked if he had any regrets, the 65-year-old former Real Madrid player and coach said: "No, to be honest I don't. I'm not saying that I'm leaving having completed every task I was set, because we knew that was impossible and unachievable.

"To have won another World Cup and another Euro would have been virtually impossible. I go with a feeling of not leaving any loose ends," he was quoted as saying on the website of world governing body Fifa (www.fifa.com).

Del Bosque also denied that his reign ended on a sour note.

"There's been a bit of everything. We've had the opportunity to win a lot of things, but we've also suffered defeats," he said.

"That's sport. But I leave with a clear conscience and the feeling of having fulfilled my duty to Spanish football."

Throughout his tenure, del Bosque spoke of the importance of continuing the team's attacking style of play focused on high levels of possession, a style at odds with the football played by teams coached by his likely successor Caparros.

But he said he would have no influence on the way the team played from now on.

"That's a decision for the new coach and I don't think I should have any say at all," he added.

"The next coach must be given absolute freedom to shape things as he sees fit."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2016, with the headline 'Del Bosque leaves Spain with clear conscience'. Print Edition | Subscribe