Spain have appointed former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique as their new coach to replace Julen Lopetegui, the country’s football federation announced on Monday.
The RFEF was looking for a new coach since sacking Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup following the manager’s decision to take over the Real Madrid job despite him having a contract with the national team.
Enrique has been on a sabbatical since leaving Barcelona in May 2017 and was a reported target of Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in April.
The RFEF’s executive committee met on Monday and unanimously approved Enrique’s appointment just eight days after the national team, under caretaker manager Fernando Hierro, were eliminated on penalties by hosts Russia in the second round of the World Cup.
“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.
“There’s a total agreement. He’s had bigger offers but he wanted to be national team coach and I want to highlight the sacrifice he has made.
“He will be unveiled next week.”
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and former Spain internationals Michel and Quique Sanchez Flores had been considered contenders for the position but Enrique was the No. 1 choice. He fits the profile of a “successful, unchallenged leader” that federation chief Luis Rubiales wanted.
“We didn’t speak to anyone else, we only spoke to Luis Enrique,” Rubiales said. “He was our first choice, he fits in perfectly with what we want.”
Enrique, 48, guided Barca 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 Barca’s reserves. He also enjoyed a successful playing career, competing for both Real Madrid and Barcelona.