Robert Moreno: 5 Things to Know About Luis Enrique’s Successor as New Spain Manager

Following Luis Enrique’s abrupt departure as Spain boss on Wednesday, Robert Moreno has become the 56th manager in the national side’s history.

Former Barcelona treble-winner Enrique was absent from the sidelines for La Roja’s last three matches against Malta, the Faroe Islands and Sweden for personal reasons, and the Spanish football federation has now officially announced in a press conference that he has permanently left the post.

Enrique is succeeded by his long-time assistant Robert – who also filled in the three recent games, winning all three. While he won’t take charge of his first game as permanent Spain manager until September, Robert’s confirmation makes him the fourth Spain manager in just over one year and the least recognisable name by some distance. 

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However, he remained cool and collected in the press conference and those who know him paint a picture of a master scouter and planner ready for a shot at the big time.

Here are five things to know about the new man in the dugout for La Roja.


Like Enrique, He’s Catalan

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Like his predecessor and former boss, Robert is Catalan, born in Barcelona in 1977, later studying International Trade at the University of Barcelona before moving full time into football coaching.

He began his management career in Catalonia too with Penya Blaugrana Collblanc in 2003, before spells with other regional sides L’Hospitalet, Castelldefels and Damm.

While his region of birth is expected to have little impact on his management style, old rivalries die hard. Expect the Spanish press to fiercely analyse the number of Barcelona vs. Real Madrid players picked in his squads.


He Wasn’t a Player But He Started Coaching Young

Although never a professional player, Robert started coaching at 14. Now, 41 he is also Spain’s youngest manager for 71 years as pointed out on Twitter by the Spanish Football Podcast.


Luis Enrique’s ‘Inseparable’ Friend

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Robert’s relationship with Luis Enrique began when they worked together at Barcelona B under technical secretary Txiki Begiristain. Since then, the two have been ‘inseparable’ (except for one season at Celta) as ??Mundo Deportivo put it. 

Enrique later took the coach to AS Roma, Celta Vigo and then back to the Barça first team in 2014.

During the previous round of Spain games, Robert described his boss’ absence as like ‘losing your star number 10’.


His Role So Far

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While he managed earlier in his career at a number of small clubs, his role for the last decade or so has mainly been in the background focussed on analysis and scouting.

One of the key lieutenants for Enrique during Barça’s treble-winning 2014/15 season, Robert is renowned as a pioneer of using video analysis and other technology in pre-match preparation. He is also a meticulous scout, who knows his opposition inside out and has been consigliere to Enrique for nine years.

Adding to his football nerd credentials, he has even written a book, ?My Recipe of the 4-4-2, which features a foreward from, you guessed it, Luis Enrique.


Nobody Is Safe (Especially De Gea)

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Listening to his recent comments, it seems that Robert is not going to be overawed by the big names under his command and insisted that nobody has a fixed place in the squad. 

Speaking back in May ahead of the matches against Sweden and Faroe Islands, ?Robert said: “Nobody has a fixed spot in the team, and it has to be that way. Form decides who is in. The good thing is the competition.”

For the wins against Malta, Faroe Islands and Sweden, Kepa Arrizabalaga started all three ahead of David ge Gea. However, time will tell whether that was Robert’s preference or Enrique’s.


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Juan Mata Signs New Two-Year Contract With Manchester United

?Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has signed a new two-year contract, with the club holding the option to extend for a further year.

The Spaniard joined from Chelsea in January 2014, and has made 218 appearances for United to date, scoring 45 goals. His contract was initially set to expire at the end of this month, but the news has put to bed speculation over his future.

Mata has seen good friend Ander Herrera leave the club this summer, but admitted he was thrilled to stay when speaking to the ?club’s website: “It is a real honour to continue to represent this amazing club and our incredible fans. I have been at ?Manchester United for five years and I am proud to call Old Trafford my home.

“I am looking forward to working with Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and his fantastic coaching staff; the vision that they have for the club is truly exciting and I am so happy that I will be a part of that.”

Mata could take up an ambassadorial role at the club at the end of his playing days – he is 31 now – and his manager has admitted that his intelligence and experience are key reasons behind the club’s decision to keep him.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “?Juan is the ultimate professional and one of the most intelligent players I have worked with. He is a great example to our younger players in his approach. He understands what it means to be a Manchester United player and has embraced everything about this great club.

“As well as everything he brings on the pitch, we have some fantastic young players here and I know that Juan’s vast experience will help them to reach their potential over the coming seasons. I am delighted that he has signed a new contract, as I know that his talent and mentality will be invaluable to the squad.”

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Chelsea Fear Antonio Rudiger Will Miss Start of 2019/20 Campaign Due to Serious Knee Injury

?Chelsea are fearful that Antonio Rudiger will be unavailable for selection at the start of the 2019/20 season, due to the knee injury he sustained back in April.

Rudiger was forced to undergo surgery on his left knee meniscus after being taken off early during Cheslea’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United, which ruled him out for the final month of the campaign just gone – including the Europa League final victory against Arsenal.

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According to ?The Telegraph, ?Rudiger is not expected to recover any time soon and will not be available for ?Chelsea’s opening Premier League game of the season against Manchester United on August 11.

The German centre-back has not suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from the injury and is said to be recovering well, but he does not wish to rush back ahead of schedule in fear of injuring himself again.

He did just that against United, as he returned from injury early to face the Red Devils, only for the decision to dramatically backfire.

Rudiger joins Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James, who are all set to miss the start of the season through injury. 

The 26-year-old has suffered knee injuries in the past, notably rupturing his cruciate ligament with Roma in 2016, which ruled him out for four months.


Speaking to Chelsea’s website at the end of the season, Rudiger insisted that he would fight to get fit over the summer, saying (via ?The Metro): “Everything is going well, I’m very, very happy with the process and hoping to be back as soon as possible.

“It’s not my first operation, I’m experienced in this…there’s never a good time for an injury, but this time I’m very happy so I can be fit for the new season.”

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Real Madrid Legend Raul Reveals Football Upbringing and Addresses Values in Sport at UEFA Conference

?Real Madrid and Spain legend Raul Gonzalez spoke about his upbringing, playing football at grassroots level and respecting the values of the sport while being UEFA’s guest at its Grassroots Conference in Minsk.

The striker is revered as one of the best of his generation, scoring over 400 goals in 940 career appearances and winning countless club and personal honours across a glittering career.


A player world-renowned for his scoring exploits, Raul pointed to his love and passion for the sport as a key feature in his unwavering success as a player. Speaking at UEFA’s event, to UEFA’s head of football education services Frank Ludolph, the Spaniard pointed at the differences in grassroots football, stating times were very different from his early days on the streets of Madrid.

“There were no football schools, people would play in the parks and streets, at school during breaks, and in the playground, then you’d go out and play with friends,” he said at the ?conference.

“We always had a football at home. Until I was 11, my football education was with friends on the street. If I didn’t have friends to play with on any occasion, I’d kick a ball against the wall. The wall was my best friend. If I managed a good shot, the ball would come back to me, if it was a bad shot, I would have to go and fetch the ball.”

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Addressing the issue of values within the game, the three-time ?Champions League winner with ?Madrid stated football offers a platform from which values can be learnt, and importantly, stay true to.

“I tried to live the values that I had learned at an early stage. I’ve certainly been passionate about what I do, but I try to respect others – football gave me that,” he added. “Respect is part of my being. You have to be connected with your own values… and I will always try to be connected with things that I think are good in football, and try to leave aside what is negative.”

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West Ham Inform Manchester City & United of Stance of Declan Rice as Duo Make Enquiries

?West Ham have informed both Manchester clubs they have no intention of selling Declan Rice this summer, after both sides made enquiries about the England midfielder.

Rice experienced a breakthrough season for Manuel Pellegrini’s side in 2018/19, racking up 38 appearances and winning his first England caps after some fine displays for the Hammers.

Such has been the 20-year-old’s form that both ?Manchester City and ?Manchester United contacted ?West Ham over his availability this window. However, both clubs have been knocked back in their approaches, according to ?Sky Sports, with the west London side informing the Premier League duo that they will not entertain bids for their starlet.

The report from Sky Sports claims that City saw Rice as the perfect alternative for Atletico Madrid’s Rodri, as Guardiola’s side were pursuing other avenues if they were to fail in their efforts to sign the Spanish star.

It seems as though there will be no need to chase up a deal for Rice though, with the Citizens widely expected to trigger Rodri’s £62.5m release clause, after the ?Spain international expressed his desire to leave the Spanish capital.

In terms of United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear this summer that young, British talent is at the forefront of his transfer plans – a ploy that was epitomised by the club’s acquisition of Daniel James from Swansea and their continued interest in Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Nevertheless, while the Sky claims that Rice remains an ‘attractive prospect’ to the Red Devils, they may well need to avert their attention elsewhere with Pellegrini intent on keeping hold of the youngster ahead of a summer rebuild at the London Stadium.

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