Spain Appoint Luis Enrique as Manager on 2-Year Contract

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 27: Coach Luis Enrique Martinez Garcia of FC Barcelona during the Copa Del Rey Final between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Vicente Calderon Stadium on May 27, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)
Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Spain have confirmed the appointment of former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique as their new manager. 

As relayed by Sky Sports News, it was announced on Monday that the 48-year-old had signed a two-year contract:

Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews

BREAKING: Luis Enrique named new Spain coach. #SSN https://t.co/3fgeE8Mdne

Selección Española de Fútbol @SeFutbol

🚨 OFFICIAL | @LUISENRIQUE21, new @SeFutbol Head Coach #BienvenidoLuisEnrique https://t.co/3KWNauF9WL

Enrique takes over at a turbulent time for Spanish football. Former manager Julen Lopetegui was dismissed on the eve of the recent FIFA World Cup after it was confirmed he would be taking the Real Madrid job.

Fernando Hierro was the man who took over at short notice, although after Spain were eliminated in the first knockout round of the competition by Russia, he stepped away from the position.

Hierro took charge of the team in difficult circumstances.
Hierro took charge of the team in difficult circumstances.TF-Images/Getty Images

Enrique has been out of management since stepping away from his role at Barcelona at the end of the 2016-17 season.

During his time at the Camp Nou he enjoyed success in his three-year spell, with the team winning the UEFA Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey in his first season in charge. They went on to win La Liga once more and the Copa on two more occasions.

Enrique has been linked with various jobs since leaving Barcelona. It was reported by John Cross of the Daily Mirror that both Arsenal and Chelsea were considering bringing in the former midfielder this summer.

It'll be Enrique's first foray into international management, but Spanish football journalist David Cartlidge thinks he has the tools to be a success with La Roja:

David Cartlidge @davidjaca

Also get the feeling Lucho will prefer International management. Won't have to deal with the media directly as much, can work largely in silence. Was evidently drained by club life.

Spain look like they would benefit from fresh ideas. In their penalty shootout defeat to Russia, the team was so slow with the ball at their feet. They lacked the inventiveness and the intensity needed to break down their deep-sitting opponents.

Enrique will seek to add those traits and has shown during his time with Barcelona that he is a coach willing to play a more direct style of football when the situation demands. It was under his tutelage that the trio of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi came together to such great effect at the Camp Nou.

Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC thinks Enrique may encounter some issues, though, especially given what's preceded his appointment:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Issue with Luis Enrique as new Spain boss is not that he's a bad coach, much better CV than most of other options. Just that more noise / distractions inevitable now. And that's unlikely to benefit team.

With Andres Iniesta now retired from international football, and players like David Silva, Sergio Busquets and Sergio Ramos set to be in the twilight of their career by the time the UEFA European Championship rolls around in 2020, it's imperative young blood comes into the team.

The talent is there, with players like Saul Niguez and Marco Asensio undoubtedly set for bright futures in the game. If Enrique can get the best from them and stimulate the players with a different blueprint, the tools are there for him to be an eventual success.