MADRID — The Spanish soccer federation has rehired former player Fernando Hierro as its sports director.

Hierro had been in the job for four years from 2007-11, when Spain won the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup.

The position had been vacant since he left.

Hierro spent most of his career as a defender for Real Madrid, finished his playing days with Bolton Wanderers in England in 2005.

He played in four World Cups with Spain, from 1990 to 2002, and two European Championships, 1996 and 2000.

The 49-year-old Hierro coached second-division club Real Oviedo last season.

He acted as Malaga’s general manager after leaving his position with the Spanish federation in 2011, and was Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Real Madrid after Zinedine Zidane left the post in 2014.