10 Candidates to Replace Vicente Del Bosque If He Leaves Spain Job
Vicente del Bosque may have been publicly backed by the Spanish federation, but the 63-year-old is refusing to commit to his role beyond the World Cup.
"This is not the time to talk about my future," he told reporters, per The Guardian, ahead of Spain's final match with Australia.
Nothing has been decided about the future. No decision has been made [but] it will be made for the good of the team and federation. All I want is for Spanish football to continue working well. If I am an obstacle, I will go.
Despite La Roja's early exit in Brazil, it's hard to imagine Del Bosque is an obstacle.
He has had 89 games in charge of his country, winning 71 of them for a win percentage of 79.78 percent and seeing his side score 209 goals.
The World Cup in 2010 and the European Championships in 2012 were also won under his guidance.
And on top of all that, as recently as November 2013 he penned a new deal that takes him up to the European Championships in 2016.
There are very few candidates—at least readily available candidates—to replace him too. But if he did leave, who might the Spanish federation consider to open a new chapter in Spanish football?
Pep Guardiola is arguably the best Spanish manager in football at the moment, but would he be ready to take on the national team at this stage in his career?
He's only just really getting started at Bayern Munich, although several signs suggest he's not totally enamoured with the project in Germany.
Then there's the whole Catalan issue. How would people in Catalonia react if "their" Pep took on the Spain job?
While plenty of Spanish players are making their names outside of their homeland, that has been less the case with Spanish managers.
Guardiola may be in Germany now, while Ernesto Valverde, Juande Ramos, Michel and Unai Emery have all tried their luck abroad, but none have had as much success across Europe as Rafa Benitez.
After winning the league with Valencia, he went on to manage Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli to varying degrees of success.
Spain have never had a foreign manager, per se—three times they have had managers with dual nationalities (Jose Santamaria, Paulino Alcantara and Eduardo Teus Lopez).
Guus Hiddink hasn't had much to do with Spanish football since he was the boss of Valencia and Real Madrid in the 1990s, although he is often a tried and tested method at international level.
The Spanish style of play these days has strong links to Dutch football, so if they're going to venture away from a Spaniard, why not go for a Dutchman?
Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde is one of Spain's brightest coaches.
If he hadn't been committed to Athletic's Champions League campaign next season, he may have ended up as Barcelona manager instead of Luis Enrique this summer.
Unfortunately, he is loyal to his San Mames roots, so the Spanish federation may have to wait a bit longer for Valverde.
...and Six Wild Cards
Julen Lopetegui: Performed well with several Spanish youth sides, including the under-21s, but has just taken on a job at Porto.
Marcelino: Has done well with Villarreal during the last two seasons, although his record before that isn't water-tight.
Unai Emery: Followed up good work with Valencia, eventually, with success in Europe with Sevilla. Arguably the best bet out of these six.
Paco Jemez: The hipsters' choice. Paco Jemez's Rayo Vallecano side play fashionable, modern and effective football, but giving him the Spain job would be a slight gamble at this early stage in his career.
Michel: Has had a mixed managerial career so far, but success with Olympiakos has brightened up his resume recently.
Marcelo Bielsa: Just took a job at Marseille, so he is presumably out of bounds, but he has had success at the international level before, speaks the lingo and is widely regarded for his style of football.