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Luis Enrique quits Spain for personal reasons

Luis Enrique says his team prepared to play against Gareth Bale.
Luis Enrique took over as manager of Spain after the 2018 World Cup.

Spain announced on Wednesday afternoon that Luis Enrique has stepped down as coach of the national team because of personal reasons.

Enrique, 49, has been on a leave of absence since March 26, with his assistant Robert Moreno having guided La Roja in their past three Euro 2020 qualifiers. Moreno will replace Luis Enrique as head coach, Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales announced.

"Luis Enrique has announced he will not continue as coach," Rubiales said in a news conference on Wednesday. "It is his decision and we have to respect it.

"We have to thank Luis Enrique. We've learned a lot from him. We will continue to support him. He will always have the doors open in this federation. I ask the press to continue to respect him during this difficult time which is down to a personal issue.

"The decision of the RFEF is to put its trust on Robert Moreno, who will lead us at Euro 2020. We are convinced he is the best choice in view of the situation we are in."

A statement given on behalf of Enrique was read at the news conference: "Due to the reasons that prevented me from carrying on my duties as coach since March and because they continue, I've decided to step down.

"All my gratitude to the RFEF for their confidence and the understanding shown. I want to thank especially all the people that are part of the staff and the players for their professionalism. I cannot forget the media for your discretion and the respect shown in view of the situation."

The RFEF had expressed last month their "total commitment" to Enrique and hoped to have him for "many years in charge."

Enrique was contracted to the RFEF for a further year, but his spell in charge has lasted 11 months.

Spain have gone 8-2 since the former Barcelona coach replaced Fernando Hierro at the helm following the national team's last-16 exit to Russia at the 2018 World Cup.

"It's a mixed feeling," Moreno said Wednesday at the news conference. "I'm sad but I feel the responsibility.

"It's special circumstances and Luis Enrique wanted me to accept this role. I'm certain Spain will qualify for Euro 2020."

Spain play at Romania on Sept. 5 before hosting the Faroe Islands three days later as part of their European qualifying campaign.

La Roja lead Group F with four wins in as many games.

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