Madrid, Spain | Xinhua | Luis Enrique will not continue as Spain national team coach following their elimination from the World Cup finals at the last-16 stage to Morocco, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Thursday.
The RFEF explained he won’t have his contract extended after, “the RFEF’s direction of sport have presented the President (Luis Rubiales) a report in which it determined the national football team should start a new project with the aim of continuing the growth of the last few years thanks to the work of Luis Enrique and his collaborators.”
The RFEF thanks Enrique for his work, highlighting that in the last four years, he led Spain to the semifinals of the European Championship and to the Final Four of the UEFA Nations League on two occasions.
The former FC Barcelona boss was the popular choice to replace Fernando Hierro, who stepped temporarily into the role as coach after Julen Lopetegui’s sacking on the eve of the 2018 World Cup.
His time in charge was interrupted by a short period in 2019 when he stepped down to help care for his daughter Xana, who sadly died of bone cancer, but he returned at the end of that year.
A fierce believer in the passing game, Enrique has been criticized by a sector of the Madrid-based press for not having a ‘Plan-B’ against difficult defensive rivals, but the coach always insisted he would stick to his footballing beliefs.
When asked about his future after Tuesday’s defeat, Enrique responded: “I can’t say if I will carry on, because I don’t know, I am very happy here with the team and the Federation and I have a good relation with the Director of Sport (Jose Molina) and the President.”
“If it was for me, I would stay forever, but I have to consider what they want,” he said.
Former Athletic Club Bilbao, Valencia and Villarreal coach Marcelino Garcia Toral and current Spain Under-21 coach Luis de la Fuente are the early favorites to be named as the new coach.