Luis Enrique returns as Spain manager after five-month absence

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Luis Enrique has been re-instated as the manager of Spain National Football team.

Enrique stepped down from the role five months ago as his nine-year-old daughter Xana was seriously ill with bone cancer, and subsequently died in August

However, Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales confirmed Enrique’s reinstatement as manager at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Today we can confirm Luis Enrique returns to his position of work,” RFEF president Luis Rubiales said in a press conference at the national team’s training base in Las Rozas.

Rubiales said Luis Enrique has a contract until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and that it will be up to him whether Moreno is offered a chance to resume his previous role as assistant coach.

The 49-year-old was replaced by his long-term assistant Robert Moreno, who was given a contract until after the European Championships.

Moreno went on to win four of his six games in charge, including Monday’s 5-0 victory over Romania, as Spain secured their qualification for Euro 2020 with two games to spare.

Report said, the 42-year-old walked out of Atletico Madrid’s Metropolitano stadium in tears following the win on Monday, without himself or the players talking to the media.

Moreno said in September he would stand aside and continue his former role as assistant should Enrique feel fit to return, although he will now leave immediately.

It is understood Moreno was disappointed Rubiales did not confirm who would be Spain’s manager for the Euros after their 7-0 win against Malta on Friday.

The pair were close friends but Moreno appears upset at the manner of his departure.

Rubiales said Moreno also chose not to show up for a meeting with the RFEF on Tuesday.

“We had a meeting set up with Robert Moreno at 10am this morning,” Rubiales said. “But he did not come, only his two lawyers.”

“Luis Enrique stepped down because of the worst possible thing that can happen to a father,” Rubiales said. “He has always been the leader of our project and he has a contract until (the) World Cup in Qatar.”

Luis Enrique was appointed Spain’s coach after the 2018 World Cup and his readiness to return will be welcomed, after the death of his nine-year-old daughter three months ago.

Luis Rubiales

But the RFEF’s handling of the change has been clumsy, with reports emerging before Spain’s 5-0 win over Romania on Monday that he would not lead the team at next year’s finals.

Rubiales rejected accusations of dishonesty, insisting he spoke to Luis Enrique in October and then again on Monday, having learned he was ready to return through Moreno.

“It was clear that as soon as Luis Enrique felt strong enough to return, the door would be open for him,” Rubiales said. “I have been honest about that. Nobody can feel tricked.”

Rubiales added: “We thank Robert Moreno for his work, he did a very good job, and we are very happy with what he did.

“But I repeat that Robert Moreno told us that he had spoken to Luis Enrique, who told him he wanted to return. We found out Luis Enrique wanted to come back through Moreno.”

Spain’s comfortable, if not always entirely convincing, qualification campaign means they will be a top seed when the Euro 2020 draw is made in Bucharest on November 30.

But Luis Enrique will have key decisions to make in the coming months after Moreno’s spell was characterised more by experimentation than either continuity or cohesion.

Spain have failed to reach the quarter-finals of a major tournament since being crowned champions at Euro 2012.

“This should be a happy day as Luis Enrique is back after everything he has been through,” said Rubiales. “We have kept our word (to) him and with Robert. We had to make a decision. That is our job.”

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