Luis Enrique to miss Spain game for ‘family reasons’

VALENCIA, SPAIN - MARCH 23: Luis Enrique, Manager of Spain looks on before the start of the 2020 UEFA European Championships group F qualifying match between Spain and Norway at Estadio Mestalla on March 23, 2019 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced that Spain will be without manager Luis Enrique for tonight’s Euro 2020 qualifier at Malta.

La Roja opened up their Group F account by beating Norway 2-1 last weekend following goals from Rodrigo and Sergio Ramos.

But in tonight’s visit to Malta’s National Stadium, Enrique has pulled out for “family reasons” and will be replaced by his assistant Robert Moreno on the touchline.

The 41-year-old has previously worked under Enrique at AS Roma, Celta Vigo and Barcelona. Therefore, Moreno will be well equipped to cover.

“We inform of the absence of our coach Luis Enrique Martinez in the match tonight for family reasons,” read a statement on the RFEF’s Twitter.

“We ask for discretion and respect for his privacy. The second coach, Robert Moreno, will tonight lead the team.”

Shortly after this announcement, Spain captain Ramos wrote Enrique a message of support on social media.

GIBRALTAR, GIBRALTAR - MARCH 23: Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy during the 2020 UEFA European Championships group D qualifying match between Gibraltar and Republic of Ireland at Victoria Stadium on March 23, 2019 in Gibraltar, Gibraltar. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

McCarthy says he “hated” the Ireland win against Gibraltar

The Ireland manager explained how his team felt when they visited the island, saying it was "just bizarre."

“Mister, we’re very sorry about the news. We hope everything works out as best as it possibly can,” wrote Ramos on Twitter.

“Know that the team is with you until the end and will give everything today to get a good win. The family is sacred. We will win for you.”

Upon replacing Julen Lopetegui as the permanent Spain manager last summer, Enrique has enjoyed a respectable start in charge of the national team upon winning five of his opening seven games.

While the former Barcelona boss couldn’t get Spain through to June’s UEFA Nations League finals, he did manage to spare them relegation from Group A4 that contained England and Croatia.

For tonight’s Euro 2020 qualifier at Malta, Moreno may give Jesus Navas and Dani Parejo a chance in the line-up in the places of Sergi Roberto and Saul Niguez.

Iker Muniain and Jaime Mata could also be within a chance of being named starters for tonight, with kick-off set for 20:45 (CET).

Spain v Norway - UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier
VALENCIA, SPAIN – MARCH 23: The Spain team celebrate their first goal during the 2020 UEFA European Championships group F qualifying match between Spain and Norway at Estadio de Mestalla on March 23, 2019 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

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