Spain has changed coaches in a dramatic, chaotic manner right before a tournament once again. Under Luis Rubiales, the Spanish Federation famously sacked Julen Lopetegui right before the 2018 FIFA World Cup and put Fernando Hierro in charge. In an extremely messy split, Lopetegui was let go for not being upfront about signing for Real Madrid. The Spanish team crashed out to hosts Russia in the ensuing tournament.
Now, the Spanish Federation is being accused of hypocrisy in the dismissal of Robert Moreno. Moreno was appointed second-in-command behind Luis Enrique after Hierro left the post. Luis Enrique was forced to resign to spend time with his young daughter, who had terminal cancer, which allowed Moreno to take charge. Moreno maintained at the time he would allow Luis Enrique the job if he wanted it back eventually.
Now, Moreno is on his way out to be replaced by Luis Enrique. It should have been a touching moment for him to return, but it turned into something else. Reports in Spain say Moreno felt blindsided by Luis Enrique’s appointment, particularly, saying that Rubiales gave him no warning, in an ironic twist after Lopetegui’s dismissal for not notifying the federation of his new job. By Rubiales’s account, they always told Moreno they’d be willing to give the job back to Luis Enrique should he want it, and it was Moreno himself who ended up telling them he no longer wanted to stay in charge. And all this while the team has plenty of talent and good results, and is about to embark on a European Championship next year.
What’s becoming apparent is this divorce is messy, just like the last one, and we won’t get a full picture until quite a few more things get leaked to the press. Regardless, having two coaches exit like this just over a year apart does not reflect well on the federation.