Abelardo opts to leave post as Alaves manager

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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 its final five matches of the season.

Alaves built on that with a remarkable start to 2018-2019 and spent most of the campaign in the running for a top-four finish.

As recently as 4 April it was fifth in the table, but a run of just one win in their last 10 LaLiga matches ultimately saw it slide.

In the end Alaves finished 11th and Abelardo has decided the time is right to part ways, insisting in his farewell news conference the club did everything it 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 manager 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.

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