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Luis Enrique steps down as Spain boss

By Vincent Ashitey
Luis Enrique steps down as Spain boss
Luis Enrique steps down as Spain boss
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Luis Enrique has stepped down from his role as Spain manager and will be replaced by assistant manager Robert Moreno.

Enrique, the former Barcelona manager, has been in charge of Spain less than a year but has missed their last three internationals amid personal issues.

Spain announced Enrique's absence from the Euro 2020 European Champions qualifier with Malta back in March, citing "an urgent family matter".

A statement said: “The RFEF confirms that our national team coach, Luis Enrique Martinez, will be absent from this evening’s game due to a family matter of the utmost urgency. We ask that his privacy be respected at this time.”

He also missed the recent qualifiers against Faroe Islands and Sweden, and Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales confirmed the managerial changes on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking at a press conference, Rubiales said: "Luis Enrique announces that he will not continue as coach, and you have respected this situation a lot and continue to respect him in the same way.

"I have to thank Luis Enrique, he has been with the Federation. We will always have the doors of the Federation and the National Team open."

Enrique became Spain coach last July after the team's exit from the 2018 World Cup to hosts Russia under interim coach Fernando Hierro after Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the tournament for negotiating a move to Real Madrid.

The boss took charge of Spain's UEFA Nations League campaign, where they failed to reach the semi-finals, and began their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign but flew home hours before their second game away to Malta in March for personal reasons.

It was agreed that Enrique, who enjoyed a glittering playing career including spells with fierce rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid , would have his future resolved following the recent Euro qualifiers.

And his No.2 Moreno, who has been acting as manager after Enrique was excused from managerial duties, has been confirmed as the man to succeed Enrique at the helm.

Moreno has worked with Enrique in all of his previous spells at Celta Vigo, Roma and Barcelona - and will now step into a managerial role for the first time.

The coach managed the side for all three games in Enrique's absence, and La Roja claimed victories in all three.

Abelardo Fernandez, the former Alaves manager, had been considered by Spanish chiefs to take the reins.

But Spain's big-name players, including skipper Sergio Ramos, have been impressed by Moreno's impact as stand-in manager and have implored Spanish Federation chief Luis Rubiales to keep him in charge.