Vicente del Bosque has confirmed that he will leave Spain and retire from management following the country’s exit from Euro 2016 last 16.
Del Bosque’s position as Coach had been under intense scrutiny since Spain’s elimination from the European Championship at the hands of Italy on Monday, La Roja having entered the tournament as winners of the last two editions.
“Without any doubt, I have no intention of continuing as Coach. It’s something we’ve discussed for some time. It’s the final decision,” the 65-year-old told Radioagaceta.
“I have a contract until July 31 with the Federation. I don’t intend to continue as Coach, but there are times when you have to be discreet.
“I’ve tried to make this decision with discretion because we’re in a business [like football] and it must be respected, but it was a decision made beforehand.
“I find [leaving] difficult. I was happy, and no-one could accuse me of neglecting my duties. There’s a very difficult phase for [World Cup] qualification in September and it must go on.
“Some have tried everything to undermine me, and I don’t know what their intentions are. They’ve discredited me and I don’t know why.
“I’ve known the media for some time and we’ve had a good relationship. That was in our interests, but it’s been impossible with some [members of it].
“I’ve already said [that it’d be difficult to retain the Euros]. I had no doubts. It was difficult to win it again.
“We weren’t at our best against Italy, but the group phase was okay. What was most difficult of all was to come back and win [another championship].
“I’ll continue until July 31, and the President, when he deems it appropriate, will [name my successor].
“They haven’t asked me about who will replace me, but I’ll [co-operate] if the Federation ask me. There are some very qualified [Coaches available].
“On July 31, I will also leave football, but I’ll still be willing to help [the RFEF]. I’ll leave the bench, but I’ll always be near them, hoping for things to go well in Spanish football.”
The former Real Madrid boss succeeded Luis Aragones after a triumphant Euro 2008 and guided La Roja to the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, but a slump in fortunes began with a failure to defend the World Cup two years ago as they exited at the group stage.
He was then accused of failing to promote enough young players in his squad, despite an ultimately-straightforward qualifying campaign for Euro 2016.
Joaquin Caparros, once of Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Deportivo La Coruna among others and currently unemployed, has been installed as the favourite to replace Del Bosque.