World Football

Luis Enrique Officially Named Manager of Barcelona

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Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2014

Update from Wednesday, May 21

Luis Enrique officially penned his new Barcelona contract on Wednesday, ahead of a scheduled press conference in front of the world's media.

Barca's official Twitter announced:

 

Original Text

Barcelona have officially unveiled Luis Enrique as their new first-team manager, filling the position vacated by Gerardo Martino on Saturday.

The former Celta Vigo boss joins on a two-year deal, as the official Barcelona Twitter account confirmed Monday evening:

The 44-year-old shares a close bond with the Catalan club, having first joined as a player in 1996 before retiring in 2004, scoring 109 goals in 300 appearances for La Blaugrana.

Enrique would then go on to become a part of the club's reserve setup, managing Barcelona "B" from 2008 to 2011.

As David Jaca of the Mirror and the BBC's Matt Slater point out, physical conditioning and fitness are expected to be a big focus of Enrique's plan, such is his style of management:

The ex-playmaker transformed Celta's fortunes after taking over at the Galician outfit last year, leading them to a surprising ninth-place finish this term.

However, the tactician has had his darker stretches in management, enduring one forgettable season in Serie A with Roma in which the club finished seventh and were knocked out of the Italian Cup at the quarter-final stage.

VIGO, SPAIN - MAY 11:  Head coach Luis Enrique Martinez of Celta de Vigo reacts during the la Liga match between Real Club Celta De Vigo and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Balaidos on May 11, 2014 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Image
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Enrique will look to succeed where Martino could not, with a lot of focus, for right or wrong, undoubtedly on how to get last summer's big-money acquisition Neymar firing on all cylinders.

Barca saw their title ambitions crumble at the Camp Nou on Saturday, where a 1-1 draw against eventual champions Atletico Madrid wasn't enough to bring them the silverware. Combined with their failures in the Copa Del Rey and Champions League, Barca had a season to forget.

GETAFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26:  RC Celta de Vigo head coach Luis Enrique looks on during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and RC Celta de Vigo at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on September 26, 2013 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Also coming back to Barca from Celta will be Rafinha, younger brother of Thiago Alcantara who spent this season on loan at the Balaidos and may well now be integrated into the Barcelona first team after impressing under Enrique in recent months.

The appointment marks the beginning of a fresh chapter at Barcelona, with the club hoping to forget recent disappointments by establishing a new legacy under their newly appointed helmsman.

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