Spain announce Luis de la Fuente as manager after Enrique exit

SPAIN have announced under-21 coach Luis de la Fuente as their new manager just hours after Luis Enrique’s departure.

The 2010 World Cup winners crashed out in Qatar after losing to Morocco on penalties, with Enrique sacked on Thursday.

And the Spanish FA wasted no time in replacing him, announcing De la Fuente as his successor the very same day.

The board of directors will rubber stamp his appointment in a meeting on Monday, according thesun.co.uk.

His first two matches in charge will come against Norway and Scotland in March as Spain bid to qualify for the European Championships in Germany in 2024.

A statement read: “The RFEF [Royal Spanish Football Federation] has chosen Luis de la Fuente as the new absolute national coach.

“The sports director, José Francisco Molina, has forwarded a report to the president, Luis Rubiales, in which he recommends the choice of the coach from La Rioja, until now the U-21 coach, to lead the new stage that begins after the World Cup in Qatar.”

De la Fuente enjoyed a playing career at Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Alaves.

He began his managerial journey in 1999 and joined the Spanish national team set-up in 2013, becoming the U19s head coach.

Since then he has gone on to take charge of the U21s and U23s, but has now been handed the big job with the senior side – after claiming the European Championships with the U19s and U21s.

Meanwhile, the Spanish FA released another statement on Thursday confirming Enrique’s exit.

Addressing his departure, the statement read: “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.”

Enrique oversaw Spain’s quarter-final exit at the Euros last summer, but has now seen a regression as they failed to make the last-eight at the World Cup.