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Luis Enrique Martínez is to replace interim manager Fernando Hierro as coach of the Spanish national men's football team. After the internal crisis at RFEF (Royal Spanish Football Federation) over the Lopetegui case, president Luis Rubiales has chosen the former Barça coach to take over the national team for the next two years.

The coach from Asturias is headed back to the dugout after a sabbatical year. Having found great success at Barça (winning two Ligas, three Copas del Rey and a Champions League, among other titles), he'll now have to pick the national team up after the World Cup and lead it through a change of generation.

Normally a midfielder or forward, he played for Gijón, Real Madrid and Barcelona during his career, winning a variety of titles. He represented the Spanish national team at three World Cups ('94, '98, '02) and was part of the squad that won gold medals at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

The decision, announced this morning by RFEF's president, Luis Rubiales, comes little more than 24 hours after the announcement of Hierro's departure. Hierro, meanwhile, took over when Julen Lopetegui was fired just hours before Spain's first World Cup match. The team then crashed out of the round of 16 at the hands of hosts Russia.

Enrique, whose profile is very different to those of his predecessors, has a tricky task on his hands. His first objective will be the 2020 Euros. His first match will be a friendly against England in September.

Luis Enrique, the only candidate

After Hierro announced his decision to step down, Rubiales and his board only considered one name: "We haven't talked with anyone else," he said.

Rubiales said the choice was made "for the team to win", giving Enrique the chance to return to the Olympus of world football with the Spanish team, like a conductor promoted from the orchestra. The manager will come with his own technical staff and, unlike Lopetegui, will have no termination clause in his contract.

Molina, sports director

The other announcement from RFEF today is their new sporting director: José Francisco Molina. A former goalkeeper for Valencia, Alzira, Villarreal, Albacete, Atletico Madrid, Deportivo and Levante, he retired eleven years ago.

His career with the Spanish national team started in 1996, in which year he played the European Championship in England. He also represented the country at the 2000 Euros in the Netherlands and the 1998 World Cup in France.