Luis Enrique is ‘on Atletico Madrid’s shortlist to replace Diego Simeone’ if the long-serving boss waves goodbye next year – despite Spain axing him after their shock World Cup exit to Morocco – as the club’s CEO refuses to rule out a move
Atletico Madrid have identified Luis Enrique as their top target to replace Diego Simeone if he waves goodbye to the club, according to reports in Spain.
Enrique was sacked as Spain head coach on Thursday following their shock World Cup last-16 exit at the hands of Morocco, which saw them crash out of the competition on penalties.
As a result, the former Barcelona boss is now on the hunt for his next post after departing La Roja, and Spanish publication AS believe there are two potential options for him.
Luis Enrique is on the market after being sacked by Spain in the wake of their World Cup exit
The first of those is Atletico, who are said to have shortlisted him as a potential replacement for Simeone if the long-serving manager departs in 2023.
Simeone, who has spent over 11 years in the hot-seat, is under serious pressure in Madrid after winning just seven league games this season and crashing out of the Champions League group stages.
Enrique is understood to have been earmarked as a replacement following his Spain dismissal, which has left him free to return to club management.
Nevertheless, Manchester United have also been pinpointed as a future possibility for the ex-Barcelona manager should Erik Ten Hag’s reign take a turn for the worse.
Atletico Madrid have reportedly shortlisted him as a potential replacement for Diego Simeone
Manchester United has also been touted as an option if the pressure mounts on Erik ten Hag
While he is not under any immediate pressure, Ten Hag has suffered five defeats in his first 21 games at Old Trafford and question marks could surface if that tally increases between now and the end of the campaign.
AS feel Enrique would be United’s most obvious target if that plays out, especially given he is only waiting in the wings to join one of Europe’s elite clubs.
For now, though, Atletico appears the most likely next move for him amid doubts over Simeone’s future in Madrid.
The Spanish club are down in fifth in LaLiga and currently sit 13 points adrift of table-toppers Barcelona, while they also crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage.
Enrique’s Spain were dumped out of the World Cup by Morocco on penalties earlier this week
With Enrique now on the market, Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin has refused to hide their interest in the sacked Spain head coach.
‘I really like him personally and professionally. I think he has the talent to coach any team in our league,’ Marin said on TVE.
‘It is clear that he adds up for everyone. For the media, for the players and for the clubs because he offers performance. I think he is good.’
Atletico midfielder Koke also appears to be on board with Enrique’s potential appointment, saying: ‘Luis Enrique is a spectacular manager and coach. It’s a different idea than what we have now at Atlético, but why not?’
Enrique spent three years in charge of Atletico’s rivals Barcelona, where he won two Spanish titles and the Champions League.
Enrique was dismissed on the back of that last-16 exit, having spent three years in the hot-seat