Robert Moreno has been appointed as Spain’s permanent head coach after Luis Enrique stepped down from the role.
The 41-year-old has already overseen three Euro 2020 qualifiers – all of which were wins – while Luis Enrique was absent due to a family emergency and has now been handed the reins on a full-time basis.
During Wednesday’s news conference, Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales confirmed Moreno will be in charge until the end of Euro 2020.
But who is Moreno and how did someone with such little pedigree as a head coach come to arrive in Spanish football’s most senior role?
Rather than the traditional route of going from the pitch to the dugout, Moreno, born in Barcelona in 1977, started out as a coach at a young age.
Moreno worked his way up through the coaching ranks at a local level in Catalonia, plying his trade at several teams including Damm, a youth club famed for its development of young players.
Nurturing youth players set him up nicely for a role at Barcelona B, where he met Luis Enrique.
LUIS ENRIQUE LINK
Moreno soon struck up an effective working relationship with Luis Enrique, so much so he joined the head coach in moving to Roma in 2011, serving as assistant.
Things did not go to plan for the pair in Serie A, however, leaving after one season having failed to secure European qualification.
But they were back together in Spain at Celta Vigo in 2013, the same year Moreno’s book ‘My Recipe of 4-4-2’ – including a prologue written by Luis Enrique – was published.
Luis Enrique’s star as a coach rose in Vigo and he earned a return to Barcelona in 2014, again taking Moreno with him.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 7, 2015
A stunning start to life back at Camp Nou saw Barca claim a treble in 2014-15 and, although they did not maintain those lofty standards, Luis Enrique’s reputation was enhanced by the time he departed at the end of his contract in 2017.
Moreno returned to Celta Vigo to assist Juan Carlos Unzue – a former Barca colleague – as Luis Enrique sat out the 2017-18 season, yet the Spain call came after the World Cup.
Moreno continued to work under Luis Enrique throughout Spain’s Nations League campaign, where impressive victories over England and Croatia were followed by defeats to the same two sides.
However, when international football returned earlier this year, a family emergency meant Luis Enrique was absent following the opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Norway.
Moreno was left in charge and guided Spain to a 2-0 win over Malta on what he called the “worst day” of his career, as he got a taste of the big job because of his friend’s family emergency.
He reprised the role again earlier this month with Luis Enrique still on leave. Spain defeated Faroe Islands 4-1 and Sweden 3-0.
OFICIAL | Robert Moreno, nuevo seleccionador de la @SeFutbol .
¡Mucha suerte, míster! #UnidosPorUnRETO
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) June 19, 2019
The long-time assistant insisted he was eager to have Luis Enrique back available for the next fixtures in September, yet the latter has now called time on his career with Spain.
Moreno said on Wednesday: “It’s a bittersweet day. I didn’t expect to be the head coach this way. We are going to try to continue the high-level work that Luis started.”
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