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Spain national soccer coach Luis Enrique steps down

June 19 (UPI) -- Luis Enrique, who took over as the head coach of Spain's national soccer team last year, has stepped down for personal reasons.

Enrique, 49, took a leave of absence March 26. Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation, said Wednesday the national team will now be coached by Enrique's lead assistant, Robert Moreno.

"We have to thank Luis Enrique," Rubiales said. "We've learned a lot from him. We will continue to support him. He will always have the doors open in this federation."

Rubiales asked reporters to respect Enrique during "this difficult time."

Enrique played professionally from 1988 to 2004. He played for Spain's national team from 1991 to 2002 and won a gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Enrique was hired as Spain's coach last July.

"I want to thank especially all the people that are part of the staff and the players for their professionalism," Enrique said in a statement. "I cannot forget the media for your discretion and the respect shown in view of the situation."

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