Spain appoint Jose Francisco Molina to replace Fernando Hierro as sporting director

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have appointed Jose Francisco Molina as their new sporting director.

The former Valencia and Atletico Madrid player succeeds Fernando Hierro, who resigned from the role on Sunday.

"This is the best place to work," Molina said in Monday's news conference in the RFEF's headquarters in Las Rozas, Madrid. "I'm very enthusiastic. A magnificent job has been done in the past. It's true that in the last three tournaments we have not achieved the results we expected.

"Things have to change and a new chapter begins. We have to look to the future."

Spain were eliminated from the World Cup by hosts Russia in the round of 16 of the competition after losing 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

Spain had suffered a first-round exit four years earlier in Brazil and were knocked out in the second round by Italy in Euro 2016. Molina has signed a two-year contract and RFEF president Luis Rubiales says Molina is the right man for the job.

"Molina has played for the national team," Rubiales said. "He is known, he has worked for the last 10 years as a manager. We consider him the ideal candidate." Molina met with Rubiales last week to discuss who will replace Julen Lopetegui as coach of the national team.

Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the World Cup after Real Madrid confirmed him as the new manager despite him having a contract with the national team. Hierro stepped in as caretaker coach during the tournament.

Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is reportedly the number one candidate with Michel, Quique Sanchez Flores and Roberto Martinez also contenders.

Asked if he had made a choice regarding who the next tactician will be, Molina said: "Yes. We want a successful coach, one that has achieved success in his career."

The RFEF's executive committee is later on Monday expected to decide who the next manager will be.

"We have to wait and see what the committee decides," Rubiales said. "We want a coach who has character, that imposes his criteria in the changing room. We are looking for an unchallenged leader, that sets a standard in the changing room. That's the future of the national team. Our [playing] style has many good things but there are others that can be improved.

"We haven't consulted with the players when deciding who the next coach will be."