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MADRID, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - The Spanish Football Federation has appointed Luis Enrique as Spain's new national team coach, the president of the federation Luis Rubiales said during a press conference on Monday.

A former midfielder for Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Luis Enrique won two Liga titles, one Champions League and three King's Cups as Barca coach between 2014 and 2017.

He also coached Celta Vigo and Barca's reserve team and has spent the past year on sabbatical since leaving the Nou Camp in May 2017.

Spain were eliminated in the World Cup last 16 after a disastrous campaign.

On the eve of the World Cup, Julen Lopetegui was sacked. That was down to his announcement as the new Real Madrid boss - without telling the head of the SEF (Spanish FA) Luis Rubiales.

Rubiales, understandably, was a bit miffed but many felt he was too blunt with sacking Lopetegui so close to the tournament.

Fernando Hierro took the job, but opted not to stay on during the week.

Spain won Group B after a thrilling draw with Portugal was backed up by wins over Morocco and Iran. However, a penalties defeat to the hosts sent them packing.

Enrique will lead his country into the qualifying campaign for Euro 2020. He'll likely get a chance at the 2022 edition in Qatar.

Enrique left Barcelona at the end of the 2016/17 season after three years with the club. He had been linked with the vacant Arsenal job since Arsene Wenger resigned, but it was given to Unai Emery.

MADRID, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met pro-independence Catalan leader Quim Torra on Monday for the first time, in a move that signals a softening of tensions between Madrid and Barcelona after a bitter political standoff.

Catalonia unilaterally declared independence last October, prompting the then-conservative government of Mariano Rajoy to impose direct rule from Madrid. Torra's newly-elected administration in the wealthy region continues to push for a split from Spain.

Sanchez, a Socialist, has taken a less hardline tone on Catalonia than his predecessor Rajoy, whom he replaced in June, but he has also made clear he is resolutely opposed to any independence referendum or attempt at secession.

He has made a gesture of goodwill by moving jailed Catalan separatist leaders closer to home but other concessions are unlikely to be announced on Monday after the meeting at the prime minister's residence in Madrid.

Political party sources say both Sanchez and Torra will take it as a sign of success if they come away from Monday's talks with another meeting planned - a sign that any process of reconciliation will be long and complicated.

MADRID, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - The Spanish Football Federation has appointed Luis Enrique as Spain's new national team coach, the president of the federation Luis Rubiales said during a press conference on Monday.

A former midfielder for Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Luis Enrique won two Liga titles, one Champions League and three King's Cups as Barca coach between 2014 and 2017.

He also coached Celta Vigo and Barca's reserve team and has spent the past year on
sabbatical since leaving the Nou Camp in May 2017.

MADRID, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is to be named as the new Spain coach, according to widespread reports in the Spanish media on Monday.

Leading newspaper Marca said on their front cover the 48-year-old has been chosen by Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales as the successor to Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked the day before the World Cup.

The story was echoed by radio station Onda Cero and the website of daily AS.

The Federation have scheduled a media conference on Monday to announce changes to the organisation's structure after Fernando Hierro, who took charge of the team during the World Cup, left his role as sporting director.

The 2010 champions were knocked out of the tournament by hosts Russia in the second round, losing 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

A former midfielder for Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Luis Enrique won two Liga titles, one Champions League and three King's Cups as Barca coach between 2014 and 2017.

He also coached Celta Vigo and Barca's reserve team and has spent the past year on sabbatical since leaving the Nou Camp in May 2017.

The Spanish Football Federation were not immediately available for comment.

 

MADRID, July 8, 2018 (News Wires) - Fernando Hierro is out as coach of Spain's national team after less than a month in charge and a disappointing four-game run at the World Cup.

The Spanish federation said Sunday that it wanted "to thank Fernando Hierro for his commitment and for assuming the responsibility of being in charge of the national team during some extraordinary situations."

Hierro got promoted from sporting director to the top job two days before Spain opened the tournament against Portugal. New federation president Luis Rubiales was incensed that previous coach Julen Lopetegui had agreed to take charge at Real Madrid after the World Cup without giving the federation sufficient notice.

Lopetegui was summarily fired despite a 20-game unbeaten streak that had made Spain one of the favorites coming into the tournament.

Spain drew with Portugal and Morocco and beat Iran to get out of their group, then lost to Russia on penalties in the round of 16.

The federation said Hierro had declined to return to his previous role as sporting director.

 

PAMPLONA, Spain, July 8, 2018 (News Wires) — The second running of the bulls at this year's San Fermin festival in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona kicked off under heavy rain, with both bulls and runners slipping throughout the race.

Two people were injured and taken to the Navarra hospital after being trampled during the race, according to hospital doctor Tomas Belzunegui.

He added that two of the four people injured in the bull run a day before had undergone surgery and were doing well.

The animals in Sunday's race were reluctant to exit their pen and begin the 850-meter race that leads to Pamplona's bullring. They completed the course in two minutes and 45 seconds.

The nine-day fiesta was immortalised by American novelist Ernest Hemingway and draws huge crowds every year.

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