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Returning Spain manager Luis Enrique calls predecessor Robert Moreno 'disloyal'

Close friends fall out over disagreement about top job and who should be in charge for Euro 2020

Luis Enrique said of Robert Moreno: 'He is disloyal ... and I do not want someone like that in my staff.' Getty
Luis Enrique said of Robert Moreno: 'He is disloyal ... and I do not want someone like that in my staff.' Getty

Spain's returning manager Luis Enrique described his predecessor and Robert Moreno as "disloyal" on Wednesday and confirmed he will not be part of his coaching team for Euro 2020.

Moreno was removed as manager last week to make way for Enrique's return, despite him leading Spain through an unbeaten qualifying campaign that ended with a 5-0 thrashing of Romania.

After the game, Moreno did not appear for his post-match press conference and reportedly left the players' dressing room in tears.

He had been promoted from assistant to manager after Enrique resigned in June to take care of his daughter, Xana, who died in August of cancer.

Luis Enrique and Moreno had been close friends after previously working together at Barcelona, Celta Vigo and Roma.

"The only one responsible for Moreno not being part of my staff is me," said Luis Enrique at his unveiling on Wednesday.

"The disagreement came on September 12, it is the only day I had contact with him. He called me and we met at my house and it seemed he wanted to continue for the European Championships and then if I wanted to, he would be my assistant again.

"I understand that he is excited to be a coach and I understand that it is a dream of a lifetime and that he has worked hard for it. But I also understand that he is disloyal – I would never do that and I do not want someone like that in my staff. Ambition is to be encouraged but excessive ambition is a defect, not a virtue."

Moreno said in a press conference on September 3 that he would be "the first and most delighted to step aside" if Luis Enrique decided he wanted to come back.

"I feel responsible and I am not proud of how everything ended, I do not like to see people suffer," Enrique said.

He confirmed that he has signed a three-year contract until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. "I have no problem if the president [of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales] believes someone else can do better. I have no problem leaving."

Robert Moreno left the role as manager after Spain's 5-0 win over Romania on 18 November. EPA
Robert Moreno left the role as manager after Spain's 5-0 win over Romania on November 18. EPA

Asked about his problem with Moreno, he said: “I have no criticism professionally: he is a capable coach. I had no doubts on the other thing until the words were one thing and the facts very different. But, please, let’s not go rooting through the rubbish.

“The controversy is created by someone who worked in my staff for a long time, many years. I am not the good guy in this, but I am definitely not the bad guy either.”

He was appointed manager in July 2018 following a turbulent World Cup for Spain, which saw Julen Lopetegui sacked as coach two days before their opening game against Portugal.

Director of football Fernando Hierro took temporary charge but the Spanish were knocked out by Russia in the last 16.

"Today is a special day for me and my family, I return home," Enrique said. "I return to the national team to finish the project that I started."

Updated: November 27, 2019 07:12 PM

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