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Luis Enrique signs on as Barcelona coach

Former Barcelona player Luis
Enrique promised a new start
for the Catalan club after
signing a two-year contract to
become coach on Wednesday.
Luis Enrique signed the deal
with club president Josep
Bartomeu two days after it was
announced by the club. That
was two days after coach
Gerardo Martino stepped down
when Barcelona finished its
first season without a major
trophy in six years.
"We believe that this is the
beginning of a new Barcelona, a
Barcelona that will excite
again," Luis Enrique said.
"When I left Barca the club told
me that it was a 'see you later'
and they have kept their word.
I can't wait to hear the hymn of
Barcelona in the Camp Nou."
The 44-year-old Luis Enrique
won two league titles as a
Barcelona player from
1996-2004 and coached its B
team from 2008-11. He also
coached at Roma, and led Celta
Vigo to a respectable ninth-
place finish this season after
installing an attractive passing
attack on the Barcelona model.
Luis Enrique's hiring continues
a recent tradition of in-house
coaches recently represented in
Pep Guardiola and Tito
Vilanova. That string was
broken when Martino was
hastily brought in last year
after Vilanova resigned to focus
on his battle with throat cancer
that he eventually lost last
Luis Enrique is the club's
eighth former captain to coach
the club, joining such greats as
Laszlo Kubala, Cesar Rodriguez,
Johan Cruyff and Guardiola.
Although Luis Enrique was
never in the same class as
them, he will be only the
second former captain to coach
the club's B side and first
team. Guardiola is the other.
Luis Enrique asked not to be
compared with Guardiola, and
said his best quality as a coach
was being a leader, not as an
expert in tactics, despite his
insider knowledge of
Barcelona's ball-control
"I don't rely too heavily on
tactical knowhow, instead I
focus on managing a group,
managing egos," he said.
"There is work that goes on
during the week, work based on
knowing each player. I try to be
everything a leader is."
Luis Enrique's immediate goal
is to work with sports director
Andoni Zubizarreta and rebuild
a squad that has experienced a
slow slide over the past two
"He is a coach that knows our
way of playing, our philosophy.
We believe that we have put
the squad that we are going to
build for next season in good
hands," said Zubizarreta, who
also recalled that Enrique had
"put a goal or two" past the
former Barcelona goalkeeper
when Enrique played for Real
Under Luis Enrique, Barcelona
will be expected to bring in
reinforcements to help Lionel
Messi, Andres Iniesta and
Neymar. And he won't be
measured — at least not
immediately — against
Guardiola, who won an
unprecedented six titles in his
first season and 14 of a
possible 19 in four years.
Luis Enrique acknowledged his
other challenge is helping
Messi rediscover the
competitive spirit that the
club's all-time leading scorer
appeared to lack during some
matches after recovering from
nagging muscle injuries last
"I am thrilled to have the best
player in the world on my
team," Enrique said. "It's
obvious that Messi's output
this season wasn't as incredible
as in past years ... I hope that
with me he can find his best
version, but not only him, also
Iniesta and Neymar and the
Luis Enrique can draw on links
with three generations of
players, having played
alongside veteran Xavi
Hernandez, coached former B
team player Sergio Busquets,
and taken rising talent Rafina
Alcantara from Barcelona to
Celta on loan and now back.
Luis Enrique is one of the few
players to have enjoyed
successful stints at both
Barcelona and Madrid. He
occupies a special place among
Barcelona's faithful as the one
recent player to have left
Madrid for Barcelona, in
contrast to a group of former
stars who left for the Spanish
capital, including Luis Figo,
Bernd Schuster and Michael

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Posted By bobricky On 06:49 Sat, 24 May 2014

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