In case you missed all the drama, the Spanish national team was in for a big roller-coaster right before the World Cup. Julen Lopetegui was appointed as the successor to Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid and then, the Spanish Football Federation fired him because they had allegedly only been informed 5 minutes before Madrid made the announcement. All this happened two days before their opener against Portugal.
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Fernando Hierro, sporting director at the time was appointed as the short term fix. He lasted 4 games as Spain crashed out of the World Cup in a penalty shootout against Russia in the Round of 16. Hierro deserves credit for navigating a difficult group with Portugal, Morocco and Iran. They topped their group and had one of the most favorable ties for the Round of 16 but it was not to be as Cherchesov pulled off a miracle and sent Russia to the next round. After their World Cup campaign came to a premature end, Hierro decided he would not stay with the Spanish national team in any capacity.
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Luis Enrique was quickly announced as the next coach. The ex-Barcelona player and manager has won it all at club level. During his 3 years as the boss of the Blaugrana, he won the treble with a squad which has some of the Spanish players he will soon be managing, e.g. Pique, Alba, Busquets. Winning the treble is the pinnacle of club football and he followed it up with a FIFA Club World Cup.
Enrique could ofcourse have joined another big club and tried to emulate the likes of Mourinho and Ottmar Hitzfeld by winning the Champions League with different clubs but he already knows his name will be remembered for his achievements at club level. He now has the chance of becoming a legendary football coach by winning a European championship and/or World Cup with Spain.
We already know Enrique said no to better paying jobs to work with the national team. He is now eyeing international glory to cement his place in history. It’s a win-win situation since Spain has acquired a prolific manager to make it right after the debacle in Russia and Enrique now has at his disposal a very talented crop of players, who are more than capable of winning another World Cup.
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