Barcelona bring in Luis Enrique after barren campaign


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The Independent Football

Barcelona appointed their former midfielder Luis Enrique as their new coach last night. The 44-year-old, who led Celta Vigo this season, has agreed a two-year deal to take over from the departed Gerardo Martino.

The Catalan club said in a statement: “The FC Barcelona board of directors have this evening confirmed Luis Enrique Martineza as the new first-team coach, following a proposal from sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.”

The appointment of the former Spain international, who played at the Nou Camp from 1996 to 2004 after joining from bitter rivals Real Madrid, came on a busy day for Barcelona.

Lionel Messi signed his new four-year contract, while Barça completed the transfer of highly rated German goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen from Borussia Mönchengladbach. They also announced winger Gerard Deulofeu would return from his loan spell at Everton

Barcelona missed out in the league, cup and Champions League under Martino, finishing second to Atletico Madrid on the final day of La Liga.

Lionel Messi (left) shakes hands with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu after signing his new contract yesterday (AFP)

Luis Enrique won two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey twice and the Cup-Winners’ Cup during his eight years as a player at the Nou Camp, also captaining the side. He started his coaching career with the B team before moving on to Roma, where they finished seventh in Serie A in his only season in Italy.

His work at Celta, following a year out, is what caught the eye of Zubizarreta and the Barça board, in guiding the club to a ninth-placed finish.

Luis Enrique follows in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola as the only man to have been the club’s captain, B team coach and first-team coach.