President of the Spanish FA (RFEF) Luis Rubiales has insisted that Luis Enrique was let go as manager due to the need for a ‘new project’ and not because of his Twitch streams.
Spain were eliminated from the World Cup at the round of 16 by Morocco, which led to the RFEF deciding not to renew his contract and replace the former Barcelona manager with Under-21 head coach Luis de la Fuente.
Enrique gained added media attention while at the World Cup due to his decision to broadcast daily on the live video streaming website Twitch, particularly popular among gamers. He also posted regularly on Instagram during the tournament.
While some fans no doubt enjoyed the rare insight into elite-level management, Enrique’s decision to stream during the World Cup was not universally well-received given Spain’s eventual performance in the competition.
Rubiales, however, has reiterated that had nothing to do with his departure from the national setup.
“I’ve read a lot of stories, that [it] was his Twitch, that it was his bicycle [rides], things like that,” he said.
“But there was nothing like that. The three of us, the outgoing sporting director [Jose Molina], the new sporting director [Albert Luque] and I, we agreed we should start a new project, led by Luis de la Fuente. There’s nothing else.”
Enrique had been in charge of Spain since 2018, although he took a break in 2019 for personal reasons, before leading his country to the semi-finals of Euro 2020. They were defeated by the eventual champions Italy in a penalty shootout.
He won plaudits and criticism in equal measure for La Roja’s possession-heavy style of play but ultimately Spain were unable to win a knockout game in normal time during his tenure.
“The relationship with Luis Enrique is magnificent. We’re very grateful to him,” Rubiales said of Enrique.
“There were different conversations. We always said we’d talk after the World Cup. He didn’t tell me that he wanted to carry on. The conversation went along other lines, that a project was ending and another was beginning.”