New football coach to retain style of young squad
In his official presentation, Vicente del Bosque says he will not introduce drastic changes to the successful national team.18 July 2008
MADRID - Spain's newly appointed national football coach Vicente del Bosque is used to being a tough act himself, rather than having to follow one.
But after his predecessor, Luis Aragonés, shocked the nation by leading Spain to its first European Championship title in 44 years last month and became the nation's most successful coach in the process, the veteran Del Bosque knows that he has some very large shoes to fill.
At his official presentation by the Spanish Football Federation outside Madrid Thursday, Del Bosque, 57, was more than deferential when it came to the side's recent accomplishments under Aragonés. He repeatedly described himself as "privileged" to have been chosen for the post.
"We are in one of the best moments that Spanish football has ever seen, and one must recognize that it is thanks to former coach Luis Aragonés, his technical team, and everyone else who worked to achieve this major success," the new coach said.
No stranger to success on the football pitch himself, Del Bosque is best known for his winning tenure at Real Madrid between 1999 and 2003, when he led the team to two Champions League titles and two Liga trophies. As a player at the club from 1973-1984, Del Bosque also helped the side to five league titles and played for Spain 18 times.
Vowing to continue on the successful path laid down by his 69-year-old predecessor, who came up against stark criticism throughout his own four years in the post, the calm and inexpressive Del Bosque told reporters that he would not introduce dramatic changes to Aragonés' young squad.
He also hinted that under him Spain would maintain the fast-passing, fluid game which conquered Europe.
"I want to keep the style of play that has brought Spain some of the best results in its history, as well as the togetherness of the group that has achieved this success," the new coach said.
But what prying journalists most hounded the coach on was whether he would break ranks with Aragonés regarding the latter's controversial decision to exclude veteran striker Raúl and teammate Guti, two players under Del Bosque's tutelage at Real.
While he would not concretely say whether he would reinstate Spain's all-time leading goal scorer - a move that would probably be as contentious now as Aragonés' initial decision to drop Raúl at the time - he did seem to leave the door open for the move arguing that both would have "the same chances as any player who plays well and deserves it."
[El Pais / Kelly Ramundo / Expatica]