New Barcelona manager Luis Enrique fielded a range of questions on Wednesday, most notably regarding the futures of Cesc Fabregas, Xavi, Lionel Messi and Neymar.
He was announced as Gerardo Martino's successor on Tuesday, per BBC Sport, after the 51-year-old stepped down following Barca's final-day 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid.
Coming in from Celta Vigo, former Barcelona player Enrique outlined his plans for his new side in his first press conference on Wednesday.
As a recent former player, Enrique acknowledged he would likely be compared to ex-manager Pep Guardiola, who is now at Bayern Munich, per barcastuff:
Luis Enrique: "I'm aware there will be comparisons with Pep. I admire him and we're in touch. He has adapted great at his new club."— barcastuff (@barcastuff) May 21, 2014
However, he requested that this comparison not be made just yet, per The Guardian:
"Please don't compare me with Pep [Guardiola] now," he said. “I hope it happens in future because that will mean we are winning titles."
While Enrique, who played at the Camp Nou between 1996 and 2004, was happy to talk about his plans for the team as a whole, he was cagey on the future of specific players.
Luis Enrique: “Is Cesc in my plans? We're not going to talk about names”— AS English (@English_AS) May 21, 2014
However, Joe Krishnan of The Independent felt that his comments may mean the former Arsenal man is on his way out of the club:
Enrique refuses to comment on Fabregas future - usually the first sign that perhaps he might be leaving this summer.— Joe Krishnan (@joekrishnan) May 21, 2014
Concerning the future of veteran midfielder Xavi, who only made the substitutes bench for Saturday's league decider with Atleti, the 44-year-old was also quite evasive, per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan:
Luis Enrique: “I know Xavi, he is a friend, ex-teammate. We will sit down and talk, lets wait and see."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 21, 2014
That from Luis Enrique not exactly a resounding 'Xavi is definitely going to stay and be the heart of new Barca team'— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 21, 2014
Xavi has won seven league titles with Barcelona as well as three Champions League trophies and has made over 700 appearances for the club, per the Barcelona website.
Enrique, despite stating he would not discuss individuals in the case of Fabregas, confirmed Brazilian forward Neymar will be key to his side going forward, as well as confirming Argentine superstar Messi remains of uppermost importance in his plans, per Corrigan:
Luis Enrique: "Neymar obviously one of the most important players in the team, was a big investment by the club and Im happy to have him.”— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 21, 2014
Luis Enrique: "Messi brings more than just goals, he's very important for group. We want him at best, if not we will help him so that he is"— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 21, 2014
Despite some saying that Messi had a poor season, he still managed to bag 28 league goals, per Squawka, proving that he is still very much at the top of the world game.
This season has represented something of a transitional phase for a Barca side that have swept all before them in recent years.
The introduction of Enrique, a relatively young manager, suggests the club are looking to the long term and the man himself seems to have plenty of ideas as to how to take the club forward.
There will no doubt be personnel changes over the summer, but what is also not in doubt is that the Catalan giants will continue to fight on all fronts come next season.