New FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique vowed to stay true to the club's attacking style after the 44-year-old penned a two-year contract to take over at the helm the four-time European champions.
Having announced their decision to appoint the former RC Celta de Vigo and AS Roma tactician to replace the outgoing Gerardo Martino on Monday, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta presented their new man at club headquarters today. "When I left here the last time it was a 'see you later', and I kept to my word," said Enrique – a former Barça attacking midfielder and youth-team coach. "This is a very special moment for me. Today I left my house and thought, 'madre mía, I'm going to coach Barça'."
A Real Sporting de Gijón youth-team product and a Liga winner as a player with Real Madrid CF, Luis Enrique spelled out his intentions as Barcelona's new coach during his first press conference. "There will be [signings]. We are going to strengthen in the best way possible," the ex-Spain international explained. "We will play attacking, attractive football – the type that has won over millions of people throughout the world. I don't think the players need heavy-handed treatment; I think we need a lot of communication; [working] together we can be much stronger. I will demand that the players be hungry and that they show that hunger every day."
Saying that he understood the "demands at Barça", Enrique added that the aim was to once again enthrall spectators as the team did during its most successful title-winning period recently. "This side was a reference point for the world game," the Asturian said. "The season ticket holders here have become accustomed to seeing football from another galaxy and it's difficult to try to accept anything else. I will face up to that challenge, knowing that titles are what matters most. That said, I don't believe in winning titles playing a long-ball game."
Having won over the Blaugrana faithful during his playing days, when he scored 109 goals in 300 appearances and won two league championships along with UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup honours, Enrique will now look to achieve similar success in his capacity as coach. Former youth-team players such as Marc Bartra, Martín Motoya, Cristian Tello and Gerard Deulofeu will all be familiar to the Gijon native who oversaw Barcelona B's promotion to the Spanish second division and a record third-place finish in that category, before he agreed to move to Roma in 2011.
"A football coach is more than just that, he is a leader," Enrique said at his unveiling. "[He doesn't just] deal with the tactical side of things, but also manages egos and the dressing room. I hope to bring together all of the aspects of being a leader and to remain true to my principles. Today is the day when I achieved something that any coach would aspire to."
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