Luis Enrique says Atletico Madrid "have to love me first" amid rumours the former Spain boss could be a long-term replacement for Diego Simeone.

La Roja and Luis Enrique parted ways in the aftermath of a shock last-16 defeat to Morocco on penalties at the World Cup last week, with Luis de la Fuente named as his replacement.

Spanish publication AS reported the former Barcelona head coach is a target for Manchester United and Atleti, despite both positions being occupied.

The links to Atleti would seemingly hold more credence. Diego Simeone has been in charge since 2011, winning two LaLiga titles, as many Europa Leagues, and the Copa del Rey, while they have finished as Champions League runners-up twice.

But with Atleti fifth in the table this season and already 13 points off the pace in LaLiga, there is a feeling the Argentine coach's time at the Wanda Metropolitano is winding down.

Atleti midfielder Koke and the club's CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin have over the past week endorsed Luis Enrique, who says no offers have come his way for his next venture.

"Hey, they have to love me, this is the usual," he said on a Twitch stream with Ibai Llanos.

"If they don't call me, if I don't have offers, I can't decide. I don't have any offers at the moment."

 

Luis Enrique, who in the same interview said he will wait until next season before deciding his next move and is planning to take part in a mountain bike race with his brother, was also asked about Barca's young midfield talent Pedri.

The 20-year-old was one of Spain's star performers and has been tipped to enjoy an exciting future at club and international level.

Luis Enrique is of the same opinion, likening him to a Barca legend and one of the world's most famous fictional wizards.

"For me Pedri is Harry Potter, he's a different player," he added.

"Watching him play, the closest [comparison] is [Andres] Iniesta. And Pedri as a person is a number one."

Luis Enrique acknowledged Spain's failings at the World Cup against Morocco in which "everything went to hell" as La Roja exited in Qatar.

Morocco, the surprise packing of the tournament, dumped Spain out on penalties after a goalless draw in Tuesday's last-16 clash.

Luis Enrique was subsequently dismissed from his role as head coach on Thursday, with former Spain youth boss Luis de la Fuente named as his replacement.

While pointing to the lasting legacy his Spain side may leave on future generations, Luis Enrique suggested it only takes 90 minutes for years of planning to derail.

"In 90 minutes, everything went to hell. It is clear that we did not play a good game against Morocco," he said on Twitch.

"I saw it positively. Right now I am calm and satisfied with what we have done. We generated enthusiasm and desire to see the national team.

"We have seen it. Many young people and children came to see us at the hotel. We could do better, I am aware, but I tried to take the best players and those who embodied my ideas."

 

The former Barcelona boss came under scrutiny for his squad selection ahead of FIFA's top tournament, with questions over his preference to play Ferran Torres and not call up a traditional striker option.

The inclusion of Sergio Roberto and Eric Garcia led to further debates over the La Roja squad, though Luis Enrique has no regrets over his decisions.

"It consoles me that the same thing happens to others. I don't enter the debate. I respect it," he continued.

"I make the decisions with my staff. Nobody makes recommendations to me, nobody from the press has dedicated even 10 per cent of the hours that my staff and I have dedicated."

Manchester United, now managed by Erik ten Hag, were previously reportedly interested in Luis Enrique, who will wait for the new season before considering his next move.

"I want to continue training at a club to develop what I did in the national team," he added. "That has been a dream. This stage is over. I'll wait for the start of next season."

Luis Enrique acknowledged Spain's failings at the World Cup against Morocco in which "everything went to hell" as La Roja exited in Qatar.

Morocco, the surprise packing of the tournament, dumped Spain out on penalties after a goalless draw in Tuesday's last-16 clash.

Enrique was subsequently dismissed from his role as head coach on Thursday, with former Spain youth boss Luis de la Fuente named as his replacement.

While pointing to the lasting legacy his Spain side may leave on future generations, Enrique suggested it only takes 90 minutes for years of planning to derail.

"In 90 minutes, everything went to hell. It is clear that we did not play a good game against Morocco," he said on Twitch.

"I saw it positively. Right now I am calm and satisfied with what we have done. We generated enthusiasm and desire to see the national team.

"We have seen it. Many young people and children came to see us at the hotel. We could do better, I am aware, but I tried to take the best players and those who embodied my ideas."

 

The former Barcelona boss came under scrutiny for his squad selection ahead of FIFA's top tournament, with questions over his preference to play Ferran Torres and not call up a traditional striker option.

The inclusion of Sergio Roberto and Eric Garcia led to further debates over the La Roja squad, though Enrique has no regrets over his decisions.

"It consoles me that the same thing happens to others. I don't enter the debate. I respect it," he continued.

"I make the decisions with my staff. Nobody makes recommendations to me, nobody from the press has dedicated even 10 per cent of the hours that my staff and I have dedicated."

Manchester United, now managed by Erik ten Hag, were previously reportedly interested in Enrique, who will wait for the new season before considering his next move.

"I want to continue training at a club to develop what I did in the national team," he added. "That has been a dream. This stage is over. I'll wait for the start of next season."

Luis Enrique was not let go as Spain coach for his extracurricular activities such as his Twitch streams, Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales has insisted.

The former Barcelona boss was dismissed from his post following La Roja's World Cup exit to Morocco in the last 16 earlier this month, with former youth boss Luis de la Fuente named as his replacement.

Before and during the tournament, Luis Enrique caught the eye with several additional activities, such as announcing his Qatar 2022 squad on a bike ride and streaming daily on the video site Twitch.

Some had wondered if he had paid the price in part for those distractions, but Rubiales has now sought to shut down such speculation, stating it was simply time for a change of leadership.

"I've read a lot of stories, that [it] was his Twitch, that it was his bicycle [rides], things like that," Rubiales said. "But there was nothing like that.

"The three of us, the outgoing sporting director [Jose Molina], the new sporting director [Albert Luque] and I, we agreed we should start a new project. There's nothing else.

"The relationship with Luis Enrique is magnificent. We're very grateful to him. There were different conversations. We always said we'd talk after the World Cup.

"He didn't tell me that he wanted to carry on. The conversation went along other lines, that a project was ending and another was beginning."

De la Fuente was officially unveiled on Monday, and will begin his tenure in charge with Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Spain next March.

Luis de la Fuente confidently suggested there is no better coach to take charge of Spain after speaking for the first time since being announced as Luis Enrique's successor.

La Roja parted ways with their previous coach following their shock World Cup exit to Morocco in the last-16, on the back of a difficult Qatar 2022 campaign.

De la Fuente, who has coached Spain's Under-19, Under-21 and Under-23 teams over the past decade, was confirmed as his replacement, with the 61-year-old set to make his bow in Euro 2024 qualification next year.

Speaking at his official presentation, the former Athletic Bilbao defender marked out his credentials on why he is the right man to take charge and vowed to be flexible in how the country approaches its national team.

"I was a professional footballer for 15 years," he stated. "I have won titles. I have coached at international level in all age categories except the senior one.

"With all my humility and honesty, if there is someone who knows what the future of Spanish football is, it is me. You know who takes the reins of this team.

"There will be no negotiation about our model. I will try to provide nuances to improve it, interpret its evolution. We will not close our minds to anything."

De la Fuente confirmed he would not necessarily move on Spain's senior stalwarts to make way for younger players he has already coached, while he also paid tribute to his predecessor.

"I have had a very close relationship with Luis Enrique and I thank him," he added. "We have exchanged messages, and he congratulated me."

"You don't have to analyse anything about the World Cup. Luis Enrique's work has been extraordinary, but you can still miss getting a result.

"I count on the youngsters but I am also a fan of the veterans who have done great things. Sergio Busquets is the living history of football. If Sergio Ramos is in good shape, he can come too."

Koke has cited Luis Enrique as a potential replacement for Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.

Luis Enrique left his position as Spain boss after they were dumped out of the World Cup round of 16 on penalties by Morocco on Tuesday.

AS reported the former Barcelona coach could be a target for Manchester United and Atletico, despite both clubs having their positions currently filled.

Simeone has been Atletico head coach since 2011, leading the team to two league titles and a pair of Europa League triumphs, while they also finished Champions League runners-up in both the 2013-14 and 2015-16 campaigns.

But a poor start to this season which sees them fifth in La Liga and out of the Champions League at the group stage has fuelled rumours Simeone could leave the club.

Atletico midfielder Koke was part of the Spain team that crashed out of the World Cup, ultimately costing Luis Enrique his job, yet the midfielder still believes the 52-year-old would be a suitable replacement for Simeone.

"Luis Enrique is a spectacular manager and coach," Koke told reporters. "It's a different idea than what we have now at Atletico, but why not?"

Atletico's CEO, Miguel Angel Gil Marin, also spoke of his interest in bringing Luis Enrique to the club, telling TVE: "I really like him personally and professionally. I think he has the talent to coach any team in our league.

"It is clear that he adds up for everyone. For the media, for the players and for the clubs because he offers performance. I think he is good."

Spain's decision to part ways with Luis Enrique following their World Cup exit was "yet another mistake," according to former La Roja head coach Javier Clemente.

The former Barcelona boss' departure was confirmed on Thursday, two days after the 2010 world champions were eliminated by Morocco on penalties in the last 16.

Luis Enrique's contract was due to expire at the conclusion of the finals, and the Royal Football Federation (RFEF) opted not to renew his deal and announced current Under-21 boss Luis de la Fuente is set to take over.

Former Spain boss Clemente feels Luis Enrique, who he coached at the World Cup in 1994 and 1998, should not be blamed after overseeing a second successive last-16 exit, having fallen at the same stage to host nation Russia four years ago.

"I think it is not a success to have dispensed with Luis Enrique as coach," he told El Programa de Ortega. "This is yet another mistake.

"Luis Enrique is a very good coach, with his ideas, with his personality, friendly, pleasant, man of the house. The problem of the Spanish team is a problem of Spanish football.

"[Morocco] stood up and closed well behind, and the players did not have the temperament to overcome it.

"You always talk about the coaches, but when you play badly, you also have to talk about the players. Is Luis Enrique to blame [for the penalties]? Not really.

 

The RFEF is expected to officially announce De La Fuente as Luis Enrique's successor on Monday.

The 61-year-old has spent close to a decade coaching Spain's age-grade sides, winning the Under-19 European Championship in 2015 and the Under-21 equivalent in 2021.

He also took charge of the Under-23 side at the Beijing Olympics last year and won a silver medal following defeat to Brazil in the final.

"You don't imagine he'll end up as a coach," said Clemente, who coached De La Fuente at Athletic Bilbao during the early stages of his playing career.

"I think it's good, he's been in the Under-21s, and he's had good results. He's done well, he already knows the kids. I don't know how he coaches, but I tell you he's very good because he's a friend of mine."

A number of Spain players paid tribute to Luis Enrique after he left his position as head coach on Thursday.

Spain were dumped out of the World Cup round of 16 on penalties by Morocco on Tuesday, a shock defeat that ultimately cost Luis Enrique his job.

The Royal Football Federation confirmed on Thursday it would not be renewing his contract, which expired at the end of the tournament, and later revealed Luis de la Fuente was set to take over the role having previously been in charge of Spain's Under-21 side.

Luis Enrique's former players showed their gratitude to him after the announcement, with Cesar Azpilicueta sending his best wishes on social media.

"We had all imagined another ending after months of work, passion, dedication and commitment," Azpilicueta posted on Instagram.

"Thank you very much for the trust, Luis Enrique, and all the coaching staff I wish you the best in the future."

Gavi was given his Spain debut by Luis Enrique last year, becoming La Roja's youngest ever player at just 17 years and 62 days old.

The Barcelona midfielder was another to send a message to his former head coach on Instagram, saying: "Thank you very much for betting and trusting me in the National Team, mister!

"I wish you luck and success in the future, you gave everything for the team and we will always be grateful to you!"

Pedri also enjoyed his maiden international outing under the stewardship of Luis Enrique and is one of the young stars that look to have given Spain a promising future, despite the disappointment in Qatar.

"Thank you very much for everything, Luis," Pedri added on Instagram. "For your trust and support from the very beginning, and for always believing in and caring for this group.

"We haven't gotten where we wanted in this World Cup, but I'm sure the future will bring you new successes."

Spain have made further changes to their coaching set-up by replacing Jose Molina with Albert Luque as their new sporting director.

La Roja announced head coach Luis Enrique's departure earlier on Thursday, two days after losing to Morocco on penalties in the World Cup last 16.

Luis de la Fuente, who has had success at Under-19 and Under-21 level, as well as winning a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics last year, is set to take over next week.

Molina is the latest high-profile figure to leave his role, with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirming he will not be renewing his contract in January 2023.

Luque will take up the position of sports director, while Francis Hernandez will work alongside the former Spain international.

Spain twice reached the Nations League Finals and the semi-finals of Euro 2020 during Molina's four years in the job.

The 2010 world champions are next in action at the end of March with opening Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland.

Luis Enrique is "sorry" after Spain's early exit at the 2022 World Cup led to him leaving his position as head coach on Thursday.

After a goalless 90 minutes and extra-time period against Morocco on Tuesday, 2010 champions Spain were dumped out on penalties in a huge shock.

Luis Enrique's contract was due to expire at the end of the tournament in Qatar, and the Royal Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Thursday he would not stay on as head coach.

The RFEF subsequently announced Luis de la Fuente is set to take over the role, having previously been in charge of Spain's Under-21 side.

In a statement released on Thursday, Luis Enrique spoke of his gratitude to those who had helped him in his time as Spain boss, while imploring supporters to get behind De La Fuente.

"It all started four years ago and how fast time has passed," Luis Enrique said in a Twitter post.

"I can only be super grateful to those who signed me twice (president Rubiales and sports director Molina), to all the RFEF employees with whom we share experiences of all kinds, of course, to the players who have been exemplary in their behaviour and faithful to the idea raised.

"I'm sorry I couldn't help you more.

"It has been very special to be a part of this.

"Last but not least, to the fans who have uniformly conveyed their support to us at all times and especially in the most delicate ones.

"It's time to say goodbye and in these cases just a little reflection... what the team needs is support in all its meaning so that Luis de la Fuente achieves everything he wants."

Spain are set to appoint Luis de la Fuente as their new head coach following Luis Enrique's departure.

Luis Enrique's exit was confirmed on Thursday, two days on from Spain being eliminated from the World Cup on penalties by Morocco in the last 16.

The Royal Football Federation (RFEF) has moved quickly to bring in a replacement, with current Under-21 boss De La Fuente in line to take over.

In a statement released less than an hour after Luis Enrique's departure was announced, the RFEF said it has chosen Le La Fuente as its choice to take charge of the senior side.

The RFEF board of directors must now approve the appointment next Monday, when an official announcement is expected.

De La Fuente has spent close to a decade coaching Spain's age-grade sides, winning the Under-19 European Championship in 2015 and the Under-21 equivalent in 2021.

The 61-year-old also took charge of the Under-23 side at the Beijing Olympics last year and won a silver medal following defeat to Brazil in the final.

Once the appointment is ratified, De La Fuente's first game in charge will be against Norway in Spain's opening Euro 2024 qualifier on March 25.

Luis Enrique has left his position as head coach of Spain following his side's surprise World Cup last-16 defeat to Morocco, the Royal Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed.

Spain were eliminated on penalties after Tuesday's contest at Education City Stadium finished goalless after extra-time.

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique's contract was due to expire at the end of the tournament in Qatar, and it was confirmed on Thursday he will not be staying on.

"The RFEF would like to thank Luis Enrique and his entire coaching staff at the helm of the absolute national team in recent years," the statement read.

"The sports management of the RFEF has transferred to the president a report in which it is determined that a new project should start for the Spanish soccer team.

"The aim is to continue with the growth achieved in recent years thanks to the work carried out by Luis Enrique and their collaborators.

"Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sports director, Jose Francisco Molina, have transmitted the decision to the coach.

"The RFEF energetically wishes Luis Enrique and his team the best of luck in their future professional projects.

"The coach earns the love and admiration of his collaborators in the national team and of the entire Federation, which will always be his home."

 

Luis Enrique had been in charge of Spain since 2018, bar a four-month period in 2019 when stepping aside due to the illness and subsequent death of his young daughter.

He led La Roja to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 last year, where they lost on penalties to Italy, and to the 2020-21 Nations League final, where they were beaten by France.

Spain's loss to Morocco was their third straight tournament exit on penalties, having also suffered defeat by that method against hosts Russia in the 2018 World Cup last 16.

Luis Enrique's side started their Qatar 2022 campaign in style with a thumping 7-0 win over Costa Rica, which they followed up with a creditable 1-1 draw against Germany.

However, a 2-1 loss to Japan saw them finish second in Group E and they were unable to overcome a Morocco side 15 places below them in the latest FIFA rankings.

Spain's failure to score a single penalty in Tuesday's shoot-out made them just the second team to do so in World Cup history, after Switzerland against Ukraine in 2006.

Asked about his future after that match, in which Spain recorded just one shot on target despite registering 1,019 passes, Luis Enrique said: "I can't tell you.

"Your colleagues already asked me and I don't know because I don't know this decision.

"Now is not the time for me to talk about my future. My contract is going to end, but I'm happy with the national team, with the federation, the president.

"I could always carry on but I need to think and have peace of mind about what's the best for me and my national team."

Spain's next match is against Norway on March 25 in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier.

Luis Enrique has left his position as head coach of Spain following his side's surprise World Cup last-16 defeat to Morocco, the Royal Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed.

Spain were eliminated on penalties after Tuesday's contest at Education City Stadium finished goalless after extra-time.

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique's contract was due to expire at the end of the tournament in Qatar, and it was confirmed on Thursday he will not be staying on.

"The RFEF would like to thank Luis Enrique and his entire coaching staff at the helm of the absolute national team in recent years," the statement read.

"The sports management of the RFEF has transferred to the president a report in which it is determined that a new project should start for the Spanish soccer team.

"The aim is to continue with the growth achieved in recent years thanks to the work carried out by Luis Enrique and their collaborators.

"Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sports director, Jose Francisco Molina, have transmitted the decision to the coach.

"The RFEF energetically wishes Luis Enrique and his team the best of luck in their future professional projects.

"The coach earns the love and admiration of his collaborators in the national team and of the entire Federation, which will always be his home."

 

Luis Enrique had been in charge of Spain since 2018, bar a four-month period in 2019 when stepping aside due to the illness and subsequent death of his young daughter.

He led La Roja to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 last year, where they lost on penalties to Italy, and to the 2020-21 Nations League final, where they were beaten by France.

Spain's loss to Morocco was their third straight tournament exit on penalties, having also suffered defeat by that method against hosts Russia in the 2018 World Cup last 16.

Luis Enrique's side started their Qatar 2022 campaign in style with a thumping 7-0 win over Costa Rica, which they followed up with a creditable 1-1 draw against Germany.

However, a 2-1 loss to Japan saw them finish second in Group E and they were unable to overcome a Morocco side 15 places below them in the latest FIFA rankings.

Spain's failure to score a single penalty in Tuesday's shoot-out made them just the second team to do so in World Cup history, after Switzerland against Ukraine in 2006.

Asked about his future after that match, in which Spain recorded just one shot on target despite registering 1,019 passes, Luis Enrique said: "I can't tell you.

"Your colleagues already asked me and I don't know because I don't know this decision.

"Now is not the time for me to talk about my future. My contract is going to end, but I'm happy with the national team, with the federation, the president.

"I could always carry on but I need to think and have peace of mind about what's the best for me and my national team."

Spain's next match is against Norway on March 25 in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier.

Spain coach Luis Enrique stood by his players, and his philosophy, following their World Cup exit at the hands of Morocco on Tuesday.

It means since winning the title in 2010, Spain have failed to advance beyond the round of 16 stage in three attempts.

Spain racked up 1019 passes over 120 minutes of domination but a glaring lack of cutting edge stunted their attempts to find a goal with the game going to a penalty shoot-out in which Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missed.

Luis Enrique insisted he was happy with the way his team played and stood by his style of football.

"We dominated but lacked a goal," he said. "We created chances, we were progressive but we met an opponent who performed to a high level.

"We could've created more and been more efficient but I was happy with my team. They represent me and represent my style and I can only praise them.

"I am very happy with the profile of the players I have in my squad, I would not change them, I would go with them till the end.

"If anyone is responsible it's me. This is sport, there is no point in punishing ourselves."

Luis Enrique also had words of praise for Sarabia, Soler and Busquets for having the courage to take a spot-kick in front of an intimidating pro-Morocco support at Education City Stadium.

He added: "We created enough chances to win the match but the end [the shoot-out] was not a lottery.

"You have to control yourself and be brave in managing that. I would select the same players to do it. Sarabia, Soler and Busquets were great, they missed, no problem, it's part of the sport."

Luis Enrique was gracious in defeat, praising Morocco's overall performance, but reserved special words for goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who plays his club football for Sevilla.

Bounou saved the efforts of Soler and Busquets while Sarabia hit the post having gone first, leaving Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi to win it for Morocco to put them into the quarter-finals for the first time.

"Bounou was the man of the match and he's a top goalkeeper," added the former Barcelona boss.

"He's a great person as I know first hand. He was decisive in the shoot-out and deserved to be the man of the match."

Luis Enrique believes it is "not the right time" to discuss his future after Spain slumped to a shock World Cup exit against Morocco, saying he could yet stay on as La Roja's head coach.

Spain arrived in Qatar as one of the tournament favourites, but La Roja suffered a second consecutive last-16 elimination via a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw at Education City Stadium.

Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all failed to convert as Morocco ran out 3-0 winners in the shoot-out, with the latter duo seeing their efforts saved by Yassine Bounou.

Spain have now lost four of their five penalty shoot-outs at the World Cup, more than any other side in the history of the tournament, with their latest loss throwing the future of Luis Enrique – whose contract is set to expire after the competition – into doubt.

However, the former Barcelona boss says he will take time to consider his future, adding he is happy with the support he has received from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Asked whether he would stay on after the game, he responded: "I cannot tell you, I don't know this decision. This is not the right time to discuss my future, it's not relevant. 

"My contract is going to end, but I am very happy with the national team, with the federation, and I have always had great support from [Jose Francisco] Molina, who is the sporting director. 

"I could always carry on. I need to have peace of mind to decide what's best for me and the team."

Luis Enrique initially led Spain from July 2018 to June 2019 before stepping aside for "family reasons" that were later confirmed to relate to his young daughter suffering with cancer. She died in August 2019.

He returned to the role that November, leading Spain to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and to the 2020-21 Nations League final, where they were beaten by France.

Spain's failure to score a single penalty in Tuesday's shoot-out made them just the second team to do so in World Cup history, after Switzerland against Ukraine in 2006.

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