The returning Spain manager Luis Enrique has claimed that Robert Moreno asked to stay in charge for Euro 2020
Luis Enrique returned to his post as Spain manager and took full responsibility for Robert Morenos departure from the national team setup, accusing his predecessor and former assistant of being disloyal.
I do not want anyone like that on my staff, Luis Enrique said. In an extraordinary press conference, the returning manager claimed Moreno had proposed remaining in charge until after Euro 2020 and then working as Luis Enriques assistant, and that he had rejected the idea.
The only time I have seen Moreno in all this time was on 12 September when we had a 20-30-minute meeting at my home, Luis Enrique said. He was clear that he wanted to coach at the Euro and then I could come back and he would work as my assistant. It wasnt a surprise: I could see it coming.
I try to put myself in his position, I understand it; I understand that he worked hard to be there, to have that opportunity, and that he is ambitious, but for me it was disloyal, and I would never do that.
I do not want anyone with that personality on my staff. Ambition is a virtue but over-ambition is not: it is a great defect. That is why I took the decision I took. I told him that day that I didnt ever see him as a No 2 on my staff. I told him I felt like going back to work, but not yet. The only person responsible for the fact that Robert Moreno is not here, its me. Its not the [Spanish football federation] president [Luis] Rubiales or [its sporting director Jos] Molina, nor the federation.
Moreno had taken temporary charge after Luis Enrique suddenly left the Spain team camp in March following news that his daughter Xana was seriously ill. Although he continued to manage the team from a distance with Moreno taking his place on the bench, in June Luis Enrique announced that he was stepping down. Moreno was handed the job and given a contract until the end of Euro 2020, although Rubiales said that was always on the understanding that Luis Enrique could return. His daughter died on 29 August.
In September, just before that meeting, Moreno had said he would be delighted to step aside if Luis Enrique wanted to return, but it is clear his attitude changed. The following month Luis Enrique told the federation during a meeting in Zaragoza that he was ready to come back. I never phoned them, he insisted. He also admitted he had one other call about returning to work, which he turned down from a foreign club.
When Moreno became aware of discussions about bringing Luis Enrique back, he demanded that his future be clarified, precipitating his sacking. He left following Spains final qualification game last Monday, departing the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in tears. The following day it was announced that Luis Enrique would return.
At his presentation on Wednesday Luis Enrique, who was calm and measured even though he did not hold back, said he did not feel proud of the way it had played out, Moreno departing hurt and angry rather than allowing for a smooth return for his former friend.