Luis Enrique has been named as the new manager of Barcelona. The former player signed a two-year deal at the Nou Camp to replace Gerardo Martino, who stepped down after Barca surrendered La Liga to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Just the day before, he left his role as manager of Celta Vigo after guiding them to ninth in La Liga, and was instilled as the immediate favourite for the vacant post following Martino’s resignation.
The 44-year-old was confirmed as his successor on Monday after being recommended by Barca’s sporting director and former teammate Andoni Zubizarreta, and is the third different boss to take charge at the Nou Camp since Pep Guardiola stepped down in 2012.
It is Enrique’s fourth managerial post already, having coached Barca’s B team as well as Roma and Celta.
He began his coaching career when he succeeded Guardiola who moved on to the first team at the Nou Camp. In three seasons, Enrique took the Catalan giants’ second team back up into division two after an 11-year absence. He also led them to the play-offs in his final year in charge.
After building on Guardiola’s success, it didn’t fall quite as freely at Roma during his spell in the Italian capital. He left just a season into his two-year deal after they finished outside the European qualification places.
Following a year out of management, he returned to Spain with Celta after they had narrowly avoided relegation from La Liga in the 2012/13 season.
He made an immediate impact at Balaidos as he lifted them up to ninth in his only campaign, prompting Barcelona to sit up and take their former star seriously.
An attacking midfielder in his day, he spent the majority of his career with the Catalan giants. He began his career at Sporting Gijon and joined Barca on a free transfer from Real Madrid in 1996, after making 213 appearances for Los Galacticos and winning La Liga in the 1994/95 season.
Barca were runners-up in Enrique’s first season, but won back-to-back titles in 1997/98 and 1998/99, while he also won two Copa del Rays and the Supercopa de Espana as well as the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
He also excelled with the Spanish national side – making his debut in 1991, playing in three World Cups and scoring 12 goals before the last of his 62 caps in 2002.
He announced his retirement from football in August 2004 at the age of 34.
10 years on, he now has the opportunity to emulate his Barca success as a coach.
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