SPAIN coach Luis Enrique has been sacked after his country’s World Cup flop.
The former Barcelona boss had see-sawed his position after hinting he planned to quit ahead of the penalty-shoot-out defeat by Morocco and then suggesting he wanted to stay instead.
Luis Enrique has managed his final game as Spain boss
But just two days after Luis Enrique and his squad landed back in Madrid following their frustrations in the desert, the coach was handed his marching orders by Spanish FA chiefs.
In a statement issued by Madrid bosses, they said: “The sports management of the RFEF (Spanish FA) has transferred to the president a report in which it is determined that a new project should start for the Spanish Soccer Team.
“The aim is continuing with the growth achieved in recent years thanks to the work carried out by Luis Enrique and their collaborators.
“Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sports director, Jose Francisco Molina, have transmitted the decision to the coach.
“The Asturian coach managed to give a new impetus to the national team since his arrival, in 2018, through a profound renovation that has consolidated a generational change in the team and in Spanish football.”
That generational change – with the retirements of the remaining members of the squad that dominated European and world football from 2008 to 2012 – was not enough to save Enrique.
Spain have now gone out of their last three tournaments on penalties, losing to Russia in 2018 and Italy in the Euro 2020 semi-finals with criticism that Enrique’s teams controlled possession but lacked a cutting edge.
His successor is now expected to be current under-21 coach Luis De la Fuente, who has been in charge of development and youth teams since 2013 and who won both the European under-19 and under-21 titles in that period.
The other major contender is believed to be ex-Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelino Garcia Toral but that is thought to be unlikely as his playing style is a marked departure from Luis Enrique’s brand of possession football.
Enrique first took charge of his country in 2018, after Fernando Hierro had managed La Roja at the World Cup following Julen Lopetegui’s dramatic sacking.
He stepped down for four months the following year, after the tragic death of his nine-year-old daughter Xana.
Upon his return he guided Spain to Euro 2020, where they were unlucky to lose to Italy on penalties in the semi-finals.
During his reign he also took his country to the 2021 Uefa Nations League final, losing 2-1 to France.
Enrique managed 45 games in charge of his country, winning 25, drawing 11 and losing nine.
Enrique departs after an underwhelming World Cup