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Luis Enrique reveals he'll leave Barcelona to recharge his batteries

By Paul Burrows

Luis Enrique has announced he will not be Barcelona's head coach next season, saying: "I'll need a rest". The former Spain midfielder has been Barca boss since May 2014 and is in the final year of his contract. The Catalans have won eight trophies out of a possible 10 since Enrique succeeded Gerardo Martino as boss, and he won the Champions League as part of a first-season treble.

But the 46-year-old's position has been under scrutiny since Barca lost 4-0 at Paris St Germain in the Champions League last-16 first leg last month.

Enrique announced his decision after Barcelona's 6-1 La Liga win over Sporting Gijon last night, which keeps his side in contention for his third title.

Enrique said: "It's a very difficult decision, one I've thought about a lot.

"In pre-season I had a meeting with Albert Soler (Barca's director of professional sports) and Robert Fernandez (Barca's technical secretary) where I mooted the possibility that I might not renew my contract. They told me there was no rush. That moment has arrived. I'm announcing it.

"The reason is I live my work looking for solutions and it gives me little time to rest. I'll need a rest and that's the main reason. I'd like to thank the club for the confidence they've shown in me.

"These three years have been unforgettable. I thank the club for all the support and I'm not forgetting there are still three incredible months to go."

The news will immediately ignite speculation over who will succeed Enrique at the Nou Camp.

Sevilla's former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli is among the early favourites, and Everton's former Barca defender Ronald Koeman is another who has been linked.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has previously been linked with Barca.

There are likely to be no shortage of other candidates and Arsene Wenger is among them, with the Arsenal boss out of contract at the end of the season.

Belfast Telegraph


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