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Luis Enrique in, Moreno out: first the Lopetegui debacle, now this


Imagine the scene. It's Monday night at the Metropolitano, and Robert Moreno faces the media post-match. After reacting to a fine qualifying campaign in which Spain have reached Euro 2020 as top seeds, he announces that Luis Enrique wants to resume his role as head coach, that he's stepping aside and that he hopes to take up his former position as number two. The press pack get up and applaud. Alternatively, imagine this: next Monday, let's say, RFEF chief Luis Rubiales, Luis Enrique and Moreno call a press conference, just like yesterday's, to make the announcement. The Asturian is returning as boss for the Euros and beyond.

Two positives have somehow combined to make a negative

Instead of that, we had a Monday filled with (swiftly confirmed) rumours and a game, won by a cricket score, that was badly overshadowed. Moreno said goodbye to his players in tears and left the stadium without giving his press conference. Two causes for good cheer, Moreno's successful interim stewardship and the reappointment of Luis Enrique, who clearly feels he's now coping sufficiently with the devastation he has suffered, became an unpleasant episode. Moreno was summoned yesterday morning to agree his severance, but sent his lawyers instead. Fresh on the back of the Julen Lopetegui affair, this is another debacle.

Spain head coach Luis Enrique with then-assistant coach Robert Moreno during his first stint in charge of La Roja.
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Spain head coach Luis Enrique with then-assistant coach Robert Moreno during his first stint in charge of La Roja.CARMELO RUBIODIARIO AS

Together with Spain sporting director José Molina, Rubiales came out to explain himself, yet a very, very lengthy press conference still failed to clear up the key issue: why exactly the handover went awry. Something has evidently gone wrong in the relationship between Moreno and Luis Enrique; Rubiales and Molina's handling of the situation has been disastrous, though. The national team is a symbol of Spain, and once again we've embarrassed ourselves. Add in all the other conflicts Rubiales is embroiled in, and the only conclusion to be drawn is that prudence and diplomacy are not in his locker. Given the job he's in, they really should be.