Hierro not returning to Spain role

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced that Fernando Hierro will no longer be working with the national team in any capacity.

The 50-year-old took charge of La Furia Roja on an interim basis after Julen Lopetegui was relieved of his duties on the eve of the 2018 World Cup due to being appointed Real Madrid’s new manager.

Hierro guided his country to the top of Group B, although they were unconvincing against Iran and Morocco after playing out to a thrilling 3-3 draw with Iberian neighbours Portugal first up at the tournament.

The Spaniards were then dumped out of the global showpiece by hosts Russia on penalties in the round of 16, and Hierro was expected to relinquish the reins in the wake of their disappointing exit.

However, it has been revealed that the former Spain captain will not be taking up his previous role as sporting director, as he looks to take the next step in his career.

“The last Spanish coach declined to return to his previous position as sports director of the RFEF to seek new horizons and undertake new professional challenges,” the RFEF said in a statement.

“The RFEF wants to thank Fernando Hierro for his commitment and sense of responsibility when he took over the national team in extraordinary circumstances as well as in the performance of all his duties.

“The Federation wants to highlight the professional and human values of an extraordinary athlete.”

Roberto Martinez, Luis Enrique, Michel, Quique Flores and Rafael Benitez are all reportedly on the shortlist to succeed Hierro.