Spain hires Luis Enrique as head coach of the national team

FILE - In this Friday, May 26, 2017 file photo, FC Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique attends a press conference at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, Spain. Spain's football federation on Monday, July 9, 2018 says former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has been appointed to take charge of the national team. He replaces Julen Lopetegui who was sacked on the eve of the World Cup after accepting the job at Real Madrid. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, file)

Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has been hired as head coach of Spain's national team

MOSCOW — Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has been hired as head coach of Spain's national team.

Spain's World Cup preparations were thrown into turmoil days before the tournament when Julen Lopetegui was fired for accepting the job at Real Madrid without consulting with the national federation. Fernando Hierro took over as interim coach for the World Cup, where Spain had two draws and a win in the group stage before being knocked out in the round of 16 by Russia.

The federation announced the appointment of 47-year-old Enrique on a two-year contract on Monday, a day after confirming Hierro had left the team.

Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales says "The decision has been unanimous," on Enrique. "I like his commitment. He has let better financial opportunities pass in order to be national team coach."

Enrique played for Real Madrid before moving to Barcelona in 1996, where he won two Liga crowns and became the captain before retiring in 2004.

As a coach, he spent time at Roma in 2011-12 before moving to Celta Vigo and then replacing Gerardo Martino in 2014 at Barcelona, where he won nine of a possible 13 titles in his three years in charge.

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