The RFEF, Spain’s governing body of soccer, has appointed Luis Enrique as the new national team head coach following their World Cup round of 16 exit to hosts Russia. Spain fired their former head coach, Julen Lopetegui, just days before the World Cup kicked off and technical director, Fernando Hierro, stepped in for the tournament. He has now resigned from the RFEF completely.
Spain was dumped out of the tournament by Russia through a penalty shootout, and many are pointing to Lopetegui’s sacking as the reason. They were supposed to be a favorite heading into the tournament, putting together many strong performances both in the qualifying campaign as well as the friendlies leading up to the big event. However, their performances in Russia were more reminiscent of their last World Cup where they were unceremoniously sent home after the group stage.
Luis Enrique is tasked with bringing Spanish football back into the modern world, instead of lingering back in the glory days of 2008 to 2012. The ex-Barcelona man has been on a sabbatical after leaving the club in 2017, and despite being linked to clubs such as PSG and Chelsea, has decided to take over the national team.
“It has been approved unanimously by the RFEF’s executive committee the appointment of Luis Enrique as national team coach for the next two years,” RFEF president Luis Rubiales said in a news conference at the federation’s headquarters in Las Rozas, Madrid. Enrique, 48, guided Barcelona to nine titles in his three campaigns in charge of the first team, including a treble-winning in his first season at the helm. He previously coached Roma, Celta Vigo and Barcelona’s reserves.