Enrique ticks all the boxes as Spain coach

The decision to give Luis Enrique a two-year deal was unanimous, said the head of Spain's national federation.
The decision to give Luis Enrique a two-year deal was unanimous, said the head of Spain's national federation.

MADRID • 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, announced 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, before adding that Enrique will be unveiled next week.

A former midfielder for Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Enrique won two Spanish LaLiga 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 last year.

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 shoot-out.

Earlier yesterday, the federation announced that Jose Molina had replaced Hierro as sporting director.

Rubiales also said before Enrique's appointment that Spain's players had no say in who the new coach would be.

Enrique's first game in charge will be a Uefa Nations League game away to England at Wembley Stadium on Sept 8.

As Barcelona coach, 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 national team after this World Cup, a statement he made in 2016.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2018, with the headline 'Enrique ticks all the boxes as Spain coach'. Print Edition | Subscribe