Luis Enrique has been replaced as Spain’s manager by Luis de la Fuente after Spain was knocked out of the World Cup in Qatar by Morocco.
Luis Enrique Was Replaced as Spanish Manager
Enrique’s side was eliminated in the Round of 16 on penalties, with Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler, and Sergio Busquets missing all of Spain’s spot-kicks.
Enrique is said to have made the decision to leave himself.
In a statement on Thursday morning, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said: “The sporting management of the RFEF has handed to the president a report in which it is determined a new project should start for the Spain national team, with the aim of continuing with the growth achieved in recent years thanks to the work of Luis Enrique and his coaches.
“The RFEF energetically wishes Luis Enrique and his team the best of luck in their future professional projects.”
Enrique took charge of the national team in 2018, overseeing 44 games which included 24 wins.
He took a short break in 2019 after his late daughter was diagnosed with bone cancer, but returned ahead of Euro 2020 where he helped guide Spain to the semi-finals before they were beaten by eventual champions Italy.
Guillem Balagué: Enrique to the Premier League?
Enrique’s most successful tenure as a manager was between 2014 and 2017 when the now 52-year-old was in charge of Barcelona.
During his three years, Enrique won two La Liga titles, three Copa Del Reys, and one UEFA Champions League in 2014/15.
Interest will be high in Enrique now that he is a free agent, and Spanish football journalist Guillem Balagué believes that Enrique’s preferred move is a job in the Premier League.
Speaking on the Off The Ball podcast, Balagué said: “I do believe if he had the opportunity to go to the Premier League tomorrow he will do that.”
Luis Enrique doesn’t get his contract renewed… It was expected
He persued an idea that did not materialise in a good World Cup (but up till them it was a consistent team). He rejected to renew his contract as he wanted decision now. More on @BBCSport soon https://t.co/pumixXu8z6
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) December 8, 2022
With Enrique likely to only be interested in taking a job at a top team though, and with all managerial positions filled at the Premier League’s “big six” clubs, fans will have to wait and see what his next move is.
U23 Coach de la Fuente to replace Enrique
OFFICIAL: Luis de la Fuente is the new Spain head coach.
He's coached Spain at various youth levels since 2013 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/hImdMJnzUj
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 8, 2022
Enrique is set to be replaced by Spain’s U23 coach, Luis de la Fuente.
De la Fuente was a former left-back for Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla, and Alaves. He has also managed Spain’s U19 side and U21s, winning the UEFA European Championship with both teams in 2017 and 2019. He also won a silver medal with Spain at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
De la Fuente will now turn his attention to the 2024 European Championships and helping the senior Spain team qualify for the tournament in Germany.
Spain has been drawn into Group A with Scotland, Norway, Georgia, and Cyprus.
Although Spain started the World Cup strongly with a 7-0 win over Costa Rica, they faltered as the tournament went on. They drew to Germany and lost to Japan, and at one point were facing elimination in the group stages when Costa Rica took the lead against Germany.
They subsequently went on to lose to Morocco and became the first team in World Cup history to lose four penalty shootouts at a tournament (Belgium 1986, South Korea 2002, Russia 2018, Morocco 2022).
The former World and European champions have not won a major international trophy since Euro 2012.
Last Word on Football recognise Qatar’s human rights abuses and instances of corruption taking place throughout the nation and in the background of the World Cup. Learn more about some of the issues surrounding the World Cup here.