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Spanish game salutes retiring national team coach Del Bosque

Football Soccer - UEFA European Championship 2016 - Spain news conference - Las Rozas, Spain - 17/05/16. Spain's head coach Vicente del Bosque announces his squad for Euro 2016. REUTERS/Juan Medina/Files
Football Soccer - UEFA European Championship 2016 - Spain news conference - Las Rozas, Spain - 17/05/16. Spain's head coach Vicente del Bosque announces his squad for Euro 2016. REUTERS/Juan Medina/Files

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish football paid tribute to departing national team manager Vicente del Bosque on Friday following the veteran's retirement as coach after eight years in charge.

Del Bosque, 65, who steered Spain to their first World Cup title in 2010 and a second consecutive European Championship two years later, was presented with a gold medal and received a standing ovation during the Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) general assembly at its headquarters in Las Rozas, Madrid.

Del Bosque's last game in charge was on June 27 when Spain lost 2-0 to Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016.

RFEF president Angel Maria Villar praised Del Bosque and said on the Federation's website: "We have dominated European football for the last eight years. Few national teams have received so much praise and in our case unanimous.

"Vicente del Bosque has won the hearts and the admiration of everyone, he has been the cornerstone on which the best Spain of all-time was built after taking over from Luis Aragones in 2008.

"We respect his decision not to continue with us. We are grateful to him. Today is the day that we bid farewell to Vicente as coach, but he will continue with us."

Del Bosque will take on a new role at the federation, although his exact job has yet to be announced.

"In these years we have had defeats and wins," Del Bosque said. "But I've tried to fulfill the big tasks of a national coach: to represent football well on and off the pitch, to choose the best players and to compete and admit defeat when we had to.

"Thanks to everyone, I will always be here for Spanish Football. You can count on me."

Spain, who begin their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign at home to Liechtenstein on Sept. 5, have yet to appoint Del Bosque's successor.

(Reporting by Adriana Garcia; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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