Luis Enrique on Wednesday announced that he will leave his position as manager of FC Barcelona, he announced during his press conference shortly after the team’s 6-1 win over Sporting Gijón on Wednesday.
The Asturian explained his decision: “During the pre-season, I had a meeting Albert Soler and Robert Fernández and I informed them that there was a chance of not renewing. They, on behalf of the Club, reassured me that there was no pressure. That moment has now arrived and I announce it to you”.
Minutes before making it public, the 46-year-old announced his decision to the squad in the first team changing rooms of the Camp Nou.
Enrique thanked the Club for his three years the club with the following statement: "I would like to thank the club for placing its trust in me throughout my career, not just as a player but also as a coach. They were the first ones who thought I had the chance to coach the reserves, which I did for three years. Later they decided I would be the coach for these three years, which for me will be unforgettable.”
Thus, the Asturian will have completed three seasons with the Catalan giants when the campaign ends, in which time he has won eight out of a possible ten titles, with three more still at stake.
"We have three exciting months left,” he said. “Three months in all competitions. In one of them, of course, we are in a difficult situation, but, with everyone's help, I am sure we will have an opportunity to turn it around.”
The difficult situation of course, is the 4-0 mauling at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first leg, leaving the Catalans on the brink of their earliest exit from the competition in recent years. That embarrassing result is said to have confirmed his exit at the summer with rumours swirling of Jorge Sampaoli (The Chilean in charge at Sevilla) being approached to replace the 46-year-old Enrique.
Enrique signed for Barcelona in the summer of 2014 and won an unprecedented treble in his first season in charge, scooping the La Liga, Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League titles to put the Catalans back at the top after a disastrous season under Tito Vilanova. He earned a two-year extension on the back of his monumental debut season as Barcelona looked to have found the perfect replacement to Pep Guardiola.
The following two seasons have not been as fruitful as his maiden season and perhaps the impossibly-high standards at Barcelona have forced him to come to the decision.
For the 2015-16 season saw Barcelona manage a domestic double of the La Liga and the Copa del Rey but failed to defend their UEFA Champions League title. Minor trophies like the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup were added to their kitty as well, but the big one remained elusive. And with Barcelona facing certain elimination from the continental competition in the 2016-17 season as well, the pressure has been intense from both media and the fans in recent weeks.
They are in the finals of the Copa del Rey and lead the La Liga rankings after their impressive win over Sporting Gijon, so there is still time to salvage his final season and there is no denying that Enrique has silenced even the staunchest of his critics in his three years at the club.