Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has revealed he is to quit the club when his contract expires at the end of the current campaign.
Enrique is to depart Barcelona, the club he served as a player for eight seasons, in the summer, after three trophy-laden years in the dugout.
“The way I have to live this profession with a relentless search for solutions and to improve the team means very little time to relax and disconnect”, Enrique claimed, after watching his side thrash Sporting Gijon 6-1 at the Nou Camp.
“At the end of the season, it would be good for me to rest.”
“These three years will be unforgettable” – LUIS ENRIQUE
Enrique’s departure is similar to that of predecessor Pep Guardiola, who quit as Barcelona manager in 2012, claiming four years in the role had left him “drained.”
Enrique’s position at the helm had come under pressure after the Spanish champions suffered a bruising 4-0 first-leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain that left their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.
That result coincided with the Catalan giants struggling to keep pace with Real Madrid in the domestic championship, increasing the pressure on Enrique. Recent results have, however, seen Enrique’s team regain the momentum, with the outcome of the league title now in their hands.
The team have also reached the final of the Copa Del Rey, where they will enter May’s showpiece with Alaves as strong favourites.
“We have three exciting months left”, Enrique said. “Three months in all competitions.
“In one of them [the Champions League], of course, we are in a difficult situation, but, with everyone’s help, I am sure we will have an opportunity to turn it around.
“I would like to thank the club for placing its trust in me throughout my career, not just as a player but also as coach”, Enrique added.
“These three years will be unforgettable.”
“We did not expect it but it is an understandable decision and one we accept” – luis suarez
Enrique’s debut season with the club saw the team win a famous treble, lifting the league, cup and Champions League trophies in 2015. Last season Enrique guided the team to a league and cup double. His spell in charge has also resulted in the club winning the Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
“We did not expect it but it is an understandable decision and one we accept,” said Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, who was Enrique’s first high-profile signing as ‘Blaugrana’ manager and has netted 111 goals under the Asturian’s guidance.
“The job of the coach is very difficult and requires lots of hours of hard work. He has to enjoy being with his family.”
Amongst the early favourites to succeed Enrique were Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, whose future with the Gunners remains in doubt.
But both men refused to be drawn on the speculation.
“I am not looking for jobs in other clubs”, Wenger said.
“I am connected with this sporting project at Sevilla to death”, said Argentine Sampaoli, who has enjoyed an impressive debut season with the Andalusian club.
And the man who led Chile to their first ever Copa America title in 2015 has instead hinted he will be extending his stay in Seville.
“We haven’t met with representatives to express our future projects within the club but to be sure there are intentions to do so.”
—Alistair Sargent, (Correspondent, Sport)