Enrique leaves Barcelona with feeling mission accomplished
Luis Enrique leaves Barcelona with no regrets and the feeling of mission accomplished.
The coach capped his three-year stint with the Catalan club by winning the Copa del Rey title with a 3-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.
Now it's time to enjoy some much-needed time off after three "intense" seasons, and let the club move on under fresh leadership.
"There is no sadness at all, just happiness," Luis Enrique said.
"I'm the one who decided to stop, and I think that it was a wonderful decision for me, for the players and for the team as well. The intensity of this profession demands maximum dedication every single day and there is a natural wear out."
He said players always need new challenges and will benefit from a change in leadership, and the club will certainly keep winning despite his departure.
After missing out on the league this season, the Copa del Rey was Barcelona's second title of the campaign to go along with the Spanish Super Cup, but Luis Enrique has won nearly everything since replacing Gerard Martino in 2014. The former midfielder led Barcelona to the treble of the Spanish league, Copa del Rey and Champions League in 2015. He also managed the league-Copa double in 2016, and also won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup in 2015.
PROUD TO HELP
He said he was "proud" to have helped Barcelona fans celebrate so many accomplishments during his time at the helm.
"If someone had told me when I arrived that I would have the opportunity to help my team win nine titles out of 13 that we played, I'd say that these would be good numbers," he said. "It would have been nice to have won La Liga and contended for the Champions League title this season, but it just wasn't meant to be."
Luis Enrique said he was also lucky to have had the chance to coach a player like Lionel Messi.
"Luis Enrique has done a very good job and we are very grateful," Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu said. "The door is always open for him to return when he wants. He has been a successful manager."
Barcelona is expected to announce this week that its new coach will be Ernesto Valverde, who left Athletic Bilbao a few days ago.