Spain’s Moreno: I’d step aside for Luis Enrique


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Spain manager Robert Moreno has said he is ready to step aside should Luis Enrique decide to return to coaching.

Luis Enrique officially resigned from his role as Spain manager on June 19 and assistant Moreno was appointed.

Moreno has overseen first team duties since March 26 after Luis Enrique went on a leave of absence to care for his nine-year-old daughter, Xana, who died last week after a five-month battle with cancer.

When asked if there is a possibility Luis Enrique could return to coach the national team, Moreno told Tuesday’s news conference: “There is a very recent situation and we are not going to discuss that.

“I consider Luis a friend and friendship is above everything. If one day he wants to return, I would be delighted and be the first one to step aside and work with him. I enjoyed the situation we had before.”

Moreno, who since 2011 has worked as Luis Enrique’s assistant at Celta Vigo, Roma, Barcelona and the Spanish national team, cancelled the news conference for his first squad announcement on Friday following the news of Xana’s passing.

“It has been a very difficult week,” Moreno said. “We will try to give a little joy in what is a very tough time.

“It’s the only thing we can do. We owe a victory to Luis Enrique.”

Moreno was also asked about the possibility of seeing Barcelona sensation Ansu Fati one day wearing the Spain jersey. Fati, 16, became the youngest-ever Barcelona goalscorer in La Liga with his header in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Osasuna.

“We cannot rush him,” Moreno said. “He must be allowed to progress through every stage.

“He was only a youth player until recently and now he is playing at Camp Nou. We have to be very patient in every sense. I know [Barcelona coach] Ernesto [Valverde] will guide him well but if he has to play with the reserves or the youth sides, there is nothing wrong with that.”

Moreno included Dani Ceballos in his squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers with Romania and the Faroe Islands. The Spain coach is hopeful the 23-year-old will continue to impress at Arsenal while on loan from Real Madrid this season. Ceballos has made four league appearances and set up two goals for Unai Emery’s side.

“I am not going to get into Madrid’s decisions because [coach Zinedine] Zidane is the one that makes the choices there [at Real Madrid],” Moreno said. “I want him to play many minutes with Arsenal.”

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