Abelardo opts to leave post as Alaves coach

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Following a promising 2018-19 season in La Liga, the manager has decided to leave the club

Highly rated coach Abelardo has decided to leave Deportivo Alaves.

Abelardo replaced Gianni De Biasi in December 2017 and comfortably steered the club to safety, winning three of their final five matches of the season.

Alaves built on that with a remarkable start to 2018-19 and spent most of the campaign in the running for a top-four finish.

As recently as April 4 they were fifth in the table, but a run of just one win in their last 10 La Liga matches ultimately saw them slide back down towards midtable.

In the end Alaves finished 11th and Abelardo has decided the time is right to part ways, insisting in his farewell news conference on Monday the club did everything they could to keep him.

"This club's fans are fantastic; they are the main driving force behind the club and I will always keep them close to my heart," he said.

"I am bowing out with my head held high, knowing that we have achieved great things together and that is testament to this club's never-say-die attitude."

Abelardo has been linked with potentially taking over as Spain coach on a temporary basis as Luis Enrique continues a family related absence, but the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) denied such an arrangement was possible.

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He has also been tentatively suggested as a potential target for Real Betis, who confirmed the departure of coach Quique Setien on Sunday.

The former Barcelona and Sporting Gijon defender earned 54 caps for Spain during his playing career, including spots on the 1994 and 1998 World Cup squads.

Prior to managing Alaves, Abelardo had managed Sporting Gijon and Sporting Gijon B while also taking charge of Tuilla and Candas in the lower divisions.

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