Things never looked good for Spain in Russia. Despite all their talent, they put forth a lackluster group stage run. It would include a 3-3 draw against Portugal, 0-1 win over Iran and another draw (2-2 against Morocco). But then they would crash out of the Round of 16 to Russia after losing a shooting. Of course, the writing was on the wall from the beginning.
One day before the event began, they parted ways with manager Julen Lopetegui because he took the Real Madrid job without their knowledge. Former sporting director Fernando Hierro took over as manager and things didn’t go great. Spain looked like they had run out of ideas in the group stage. But they looked particularly toothless against a Russian side whose only plan was to defend. They have a new boss now, though. An actual manager, in fact.
According to ESPN’s Adriana Garcia, they’ve hired former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique to take over.
“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,” said federation President Luis Rubiales. “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.”
Enrique didn’t have a fantastic time of it with Celta Vigo or Roma, but he never really got a fair shake. At Barcelona, however, he put together a solid run. His side would win 138 matches of his 181 in charge (76.2 percent) while winning La Liga twice, the Copa del Rey three times and a Champions League title as well.
Should Spain have just seen things through with Lopetegui in Russia? Probably. But it’s easy to say that now. Enrique presents a fresh start, though. And ones Spanish fans should be looking forward to.