Luis Enrique returns Spain manager after eight-month absence for family reasons

Luis Enrique: The former Barcelona and Roma boss is a free agent
Luis Enrique: The former Barcelona and Roma boss is a free agent

Luis Enrique is to return as Spain manager after an eight-month absence caring for his daughter, who tragically passed away.

Enrique took charge of La Roja for the first time in July last year, but stepped aside for personal reasons in March before resigning in June to take care of nine-year-old daughter Xanita, who died of bone cancer at the end of August.

Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales insisted at the time that "the doors of the federation and the national team will remain open to him".

At a press conference today, Rubiales said: "Today we can confirm that Luis Enrique will return to his position."

Enrique's assistant, Robert Moreno, took charge in his absence and oversaw Spain's march to the Euro 2020 finals.

Monday night's 5-0 thrashing of Romania maintained his unbeaten record, comprising seven wins and two draws from nine matches.

While always politely insisting he would stand down should Enrique choose to return, it was reported that Moreno was unhappy at the way his departure has been handled, refusing to speak to the media after the game.

But Rubiales said: "We have acted sincerely, we have not deceived anyone. Everyone knew that if Luis Enrique wanted to come back he had the doors open."

Although the Spain players are aware of Enrique's methods from his previous time at the helm, his is now the fifth different managerial spell in the past 17 months.

The 49-year-old, who won eight of 10 matches during his previous tenure, suffering Nations League defeats to England and Croatia, is now tasked with guiding Spain into next summer's European Championship finals and beyond.

Rubiales further stated: "Luis Enrique will continue to the Qatar World Cup (in 2022)."

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