- Barcelona boss Luis Enrique will step down at the end of the season, saying he needs to “rest”.
- Former manager Pep Guardiola (now at Manchester City) sad because of the manner in which his former team mate is leaving.
- Sevilla’s manager Jorge Sampaoli, old boys Ronald Koeman and Michael Laudrup among favourites to replace Enrique as manger next season.
It is no longer a secret as may very well know that Luis Enrique announced that he will step down as Barcelona coach in the summer after what observers sighted poor form for the team especially in the Champions League where they were thrashed 4-0 by Paris St-Germain(PSG) on 14 Feb.
The 46-year-old having been in charge since the departure of Gerardo Martino in 2014 but has now decided it’s time up as he is tired and needs ‘to rest’. He believes it is the right time for some else to take on the mantle and drive the club forward.
He made the announcement following a 6-1 victory over Sporting Gijon last night that took the Catalan club to the summit of the Spanish La liga table. The team sits a point ahead of arch rivals Real Madrid who have a game in hand and whatever happens at the end of the season, will not change his decision.
“I will not be the coach of Barcelona next season,” Enrique told the assembled media at Camp Nou stadium. “It is a difficult, measured and well thought out decision and I think I have to be loyal to what I think.” He told reporters.
“This is a very difficult decision for me which I have thought about for a very long time but I think I have to be honest and fair about what I think,” he said. “Pre-season, I had a meeting with [club directors] Albert Soler and Robert Fernández in which I told them about the possibility of not renewing my contract. They told me there was no hurry to make a decision”. “Now that moment has arrived. The reason is that in my work I am constantly looking for solutions and that means I get no time to rest, I need to rest and that’s my main reason [for leaving]”.
The 46-year-old manager who won the Champions League as part of the treble in his first year and led them to a domestic double last season was grateful to the club for having given him the opportunity to manage one of the world’s greatest clubs.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the club for the confidence they have shown in me throughout my career. They gave me the chance to coach the reserve team. I did that, and these last three years have been unforgettable. I would like to thank them for their support and professionalism and I will not forget that we have three very exciting months left together.” He explained.
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu added: “We’re very happy with the work he has done up to know and with what he has left to do. We have to accept the coach’s decision and support him. Now we have to focus on the competitions in the next three months, but Luis Enrique will leave in the summer and we’ve had a super coach in the last three years”.
FORMER MANAGER PEP GUARDIOLA SAD
Like his former teammate Pep Guardiola, who stepped down after four glorious years in charge of Barca in 2012, Enrique highlighted the pressures of the top at the Camp Nou as his reason to step down. And now it is no surprise that the current Manchester city manager has expressed his shock and sadness at Enrique’s decision.
Guardiola believes Luis Enrique is “perfect” for Barcelona after the Spaniard announced his exit from the club saying the Catalan side have lost ‘the perfect trainer’
WHO IS WILL BE NEXT MANAGER?
It is yet early days as Enrique and club management believes there is yet a lot the former can achieve with the club in the remaining 3 months. However this cannot stop the bosses from looking around for a potential replacement.Several names have already been fronted as ‘favourites’. Top on that list are former players Ronald Koeman and Michael Laudrup who a considered ‘more appropriate’ because they know the philosophy of the club. However, the hottest property currently in football management seems to be Sevillia’s Jorge Sampaoli who is also the player’s favourite and the most popular choice among Barcelona fans. He is also also admired by Lionel Messi who usually has a big say in who takes over the reigns at Camp Nou.
Other names popping up include Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde, Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino.