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RFEF PRESIDENT VISITS AS

Rubiales: RFEF president on Luis Enrique, LaLiga in Miami...

RFEF president Rubiales visits AS

Felipe Sevillano

The Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales visited AS on Thursday, discussing a wide range of topics affecting the game in Spain.

Luis Rubiales visits AS - the RFEF president's key quotes:

On UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin:

"Today it was announced that Ceferin is the only candidate for the UEFA presidency [in February's elections], and I'm happy about that because I think he's a fantastic leader."

On FIFA president Gianni Infantino:

"He's a friend. I met him when I became part of UEFA's Strategic Committee in 2011. He's got quite some mind; I don't know how many languages he speaks... He even got Russia to vote for USA as World Cup hosts! He's got quite some mind, an unbelievable memory, a real talent for diplomacy. He's a friend of Putin. He gets hosted by Trump. He's got something special, no doubt about it."

Improving his fractious relationship with LaLiga president Javier Tebas:

"I'd also like to get on well [with Tebas]. If you spoke to my friends, they'd tell you that in general I'm quite a peace-loving, friendly guy. When I get angry or feel attacked, it's a different story, though. I'm not someone who goes looking for conflict, but I don't shy away from it, either."

LaLiga's plans to hold Girona-Barcelona league fixture in Miami:

"I don't think it'll happen. None of the institutions who have to give the green light will do so. We sent reports to FIFA and UEFA with a view to getting their opinion, and FIFA not only gave us theirs, but also came out publicly to say that it [a LaLiga fixture in the US] couldn't be done.

UEFA's stance on US plan:

"Ceferin called me and told me to go and see him and that he was fully aligned with the Spanish Football Federation's decision on the matter."

Rubiales (left), with LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

Playing the Spanish Super Cup abroad:

"Holding the Super Cup outside of the country doesn't hurt anyone. It doesn't give anyone an [unfair] advantage, because it's played on a neutral venue. I have the same opinion as Infantino on this subject. The Super Cup is a summer match, at that time of the year their supporters aren't at home and, by doing this, you add extra value to the trophy. If you look closely, the crowd at the Super Cup is people on their summer holidays, people who are passing through. It means more revenue for the clubs and greater exposure for Spanish football, for the champions of LaLiga and the winners of the Copa del Rey. Everybody wins."

On Spain boss Luis Enrique:

"He's really enjoying himself. I thought he'd come to Madrid less than he actually does. He pretty much lives here. And I'm sure he's only going to keep on coming with even more regularity. Luis Enrique's a good guy."

Jordi Alba's recall to the Spain squad:

"I prefer not to be drawn into questions about the managerial decisions taken by the coach."

"Luis Enrique's a good guy," says Rubiales of the Spain coach, who he appointed in place of the sacked Julen Lopetegui in the summer.

Julen Lopetegui's sacking as Real Madrid boss, just four months after his controversial exit from the Spain job:

"I didn't take any pleasure in it. At the end of the day, football at the elite level is an extremely tough environment."

Rubiales' relationship with Madrid president Florentino Pérez:

"It remains a good one."

Have you spoken to Pérez since Lopetegui's Spain departure?

"The three or four times I've met him, yes. But we've haven't spoken about Lopetegui again."

Emulating the UK's Saturday-afternoon television blackout:

"We have to protect lower-league football in Spain with a TV-free window. From my point of view [...], it should be on Sunday afternoons. Playing at that time of day, clubs would have more spectators happily going down to the stadium to see tha game and, on top of that, they could get there and back home again without having to stay overnight. But it's something we'll have to sit down and talk about. The Federation has a duty to help improve the lower levels of the game".

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