A tough act to follow

While the final international break before Euro 2016 is ongoing, it’s an appropriate time to start talking about who will succeed Vicente del Bosque as Spain boss after the summer tournament. The 65-year-old announced in late 2014 that he was planning on retiring after the finals in France, when his eight-year tenure with La Roja would come to an end.

With the Euros on the horizon, now is surely time for the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to start lining up replacements and negotiating with them in an attempt to figure out who will take the former Real Madrid man’s seat in the dugout, and there are no shortage of options who could well be in the running for the job.

As yet, no real favourite has emerged, but some of the most considerable options could be candidates, such as Sevilla’s Unai Emery, Athletic Bilbao’s Ernesto Valverde, and Paco Jamez of Rayo Vallecano. Each of these Coachs have done very well in their capacities at their current clubs on limited budgets, and with not much room for more to be achieved where they’re at, they could consider taking the enviable job of managing their supremely-talented nation. 

Villarreal’s Marcelino could also be an option, but it’s unlikely that he’d leave his current project at El Madrigal, with the Yellow Submarine on the verge of returning to the Champions League for next season and a new contract recently penned. Joaquin Caparros has also been mentioned in the Spanish media as a possible successor, but it remains to be seen how credible and serious this rumour really is.

The top Spanish Coaches are unavailable, given Pep Guardiola will start a new job at Manchester City this summer, Luis Enrique is at the club of his dreams in Barcelona and Rafa Benitez recently took over at Newcastle United. There is still the possibility that Rafa does end up replacing Del Bosque, should Newcastle get relegated and he opt out of his three-year contract, but that won’t be settled until at least late May, by which time the RFEF might have already named a replacement.

Whichever decision may be taken, the RFEF are likely to continue their tradition of hiring managers who were either born in Spain or have played for the Spanish national team at some point in their careers. As a result, coaches like Jose Luis Mendilibar, Julen Loptegui, and even Pepe Mel could also find themselves in the argument.

Even with its best Coaches being unavailable, there are plenty who could take on the responsibility of leading La Roja’s next generation into the 2018 World Cup. With players like Iker Casillas and Andres Iniesta possibly retiring from the international fold this summer, in addition to Del Bosque’s departure, Euro 2016 may mark the end of a golden period for Spain and dawn the beginning of a new one under whoever gets the job.