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Former New York Red Bulls midfielder Albert Celades named coach of Spain's U-21 national team

Former New York Red Bulls midfielder Albert Celades was named head coach of Spain's U-21 national team on Wednesday, continuing the ex-FC Barcelona man's rise up the coaching ranks of his home country.

The 38-year-old steps up to the new job from his previous post as coach of La Furia Roja's U-16s. Celades earned four caps for Spain during his own playing career, including two appearances in the 1998 World Cup.

Celades' new post comes with no shortage of high expectations: Spain's U-21s are the back-to-back reigning European champions and presently sit atop their qualifying group in the race for a spot in next year's tournament.

His club resume featured stints at Barça, Real Madrid, Celta de Vigo and Real Zaragoza before he joined the Red Bulls in 2009. Celades made 17 appearances with one goal and four assists in New York.

Speaking to FutbolMLS.com last fall, Celades – whose daughter was born stateside during his MLS days – called his time with the Red Bulls “a fantastic experience” and alluded to the possibility of someday returning to North America.