Luis Enrique Profile
|Born||May 08, 1970|
As a player, Luis Enrique earned 62 caps for Spain and played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, and his coaching career has also seen more than a handful of notable achievements.
He started his senior career turning out in midfield for his hometown club Sporting Gijon before catching the eye of Real Madrid.
At Real, he would rise to international level, but in 1996 he left the club on a free, joining Barcelona and letting slip that he felt unappreciated in the Spanish capital.
That began an association with Barcelona that would dominate the rest of his playing time and the beginning of his managerial career.
Enrique played in three FIFA World Cups for Spain and won Olympic gold at the 1992 games held in Barcelona.
He was given his start in coaching as the manager of Barcelona B and his first major appointment came in Serie A with Roma in 2011.
After a brief spell as manager of Celta Vigo, he then replaced Gerardo Martino as the manager of Barcelona and would become the club's most successful boss since the departure of the legendary Pep Guardiola in 2012.
His success at Barca would see him chosen to direct the efforts of the Spain national team in 2018 after he had left the Basque superclub when his contract expired in 2017.
Luis Enrique and Barcelona
A native of Gijon, Enrique became a hero in Basque country after he made a controversial switch of clubs in 1996. Claiming he was unappreciated at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Enrique struck up a midfield partnership with Luis Figo that drove Barcelona as a footballing force in the late 1990s before the Portuguese star jumped ship to Real Madrid.
Under influential coach Louis van Gaal, Enrique developed even and showed tremendous consistency and incredible stamina as the Dutchman introduced possession football to Barcelona.
Enrique credits Van Gaal as a massive influence on him, not only as a player and coach but also as a person.
The two La Liga titles Barcelona won under Van Gaal in the late 1990s would be Enrique's last taste of top-flight success as a player.
The latter years of his Barcelona career were a difficult period for the club, who finished sixth in the 2002/03 season before bouncing back to end as runners-up in Enrique's final term. Sadly, his time as club skipper brought little reward as a succession of managers cycled in and out of the Camp Nou.
Between Enrique's retirement as a player and his appointment as Barcelona manager in 2014, the club won the Champions League three times and earned six La Liga titles.
Enrique inherited a club with an insatiable appetite for success which his immediate predecessors, Martino and Tito Vilanova, had fallen victim to after just one season apiece.
His good favour with the Barcelonistas from his time with the club as a player offered but a little insulation from the pressure to succeed, but delivering the club's fifth Champions League title in his first season ensured Enrique didn't make it three managers in a row to be sacked after one season.
Enrique managed Barcelona to back-to-back La Liga titles in the following seasons and completed a hat-trick of Copa del Rey wins, leaving him a perfect record in the cup competition.
Towards the end of the 2016/17 season, Enrique announced that he would not be extending his three-year contract with the club, citing a need for rest as his reasoning.
Despite spending just three seasons at the club, Enrique holds a special place among Barcelona managers with only Guardiola and Johan Cruyff bringing in more silverware for the club in the post-WWII era.
Enrique has not ruled out a return to Barcelona, who have struggled to replace the Spanish coach and replicate the championship-winning form of his teams.
His era as a coach was synonymous with the front three he deployed for much of his time at the club, with Lionel Messi striking up a lethal association with Luis Suarez, who joined the club at the outset of Enrique's time as manager, and Neymar, whose departure came at the end of Lucho's Camp Nou reign.
Enrique timed his exit from Barcelona well, as discontent with the style of play and big-match results grew in his final season, much of it centreing around a 4-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain. In that final season, the prevailing perception was that despite the presence of world-class talent in every position, the team's performance appeared to be dictated by how well its star man, Lionel Messi, got on.
Messi still counts Enrique alongside Guardiola as the best to have coached him. The club's struggles since Enrique's departure, on the other hand, have painted his time at the club in a different light. While some may insist the 'rot' set in under Enrique, his tenure is a prime example of the challenges of managing a superclub in the 21st Century.
All told, Enrique delivered two La Liga, three Copa del Rey, one Supercopa de Espana, a UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, and a FIFA Club World Cup title in a glittering three-season stay at the Camp Nou.
Enrique is now inextricably linked to Barcelona, which makes it easy to forget that he made his name as a player in the Real Madrid team that struggled manfully against Cruyff's dream team.
He was immediately a first-team regular for Real after moving to the capital in 1991 when the team were considered Spain's second-best side despite their history as the most successful team from the country and continental's soccer's most decorated club.
While his best position was arguably being deployed as an attacking midfielder, Enrique displayed great versatility during his time at Real Madrid.
Enrique was central to Real Madrid ending a five-year La Liga drought at the Santiago Bernabeu in 1995, but he wasn't feeling the love from Los Blancos and would be gone a year later.
While Enrique showed glimpses of his best at Real Madrid, his best form would be found after crossing the El Clasico divide.
He signed off with a goal against Barcelona but would return to the Bernabeu and generate heat from Real supporters with his passionate goal celebrations.
His time as Spain manager has done little to quell the likelihood of a hostile reception for Enrique any time he returns to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Enrique played 218 matches across all competitions for Real Madrid and scored 18 goals.
Representing Spain as player and manager
After a year out of the game, Enrique was coaxed back into management by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, who appointed him as national team manager in July 2018.
As a player, Enrique had been a Spain stalwart, appearing in three World Cups and the 1996 European Championships. He had been a member of the Spain Under-23 side that won the country their first gold medal in the men's soccer competition.
Enrique experienced the high of scoring his first international goal in his first World Cup and the low of catching an elbow from Italy's Mauro Tassotti in Spain's 2-1 quarter-final defeat in 1994. The blow left Enrique bleeding from the mouth, one of the most iconic images from a memorable tournament in the United States.
He played 62 internationals for Spain, scoring 12 times, but success in major tournaments eluded the country during his career.
When he was appointed as Spain boss in 2018, Enrique was tasked with restoring a team that had slid away from the top of the pile after their 2010 World Cup win.
His first task was the inaugural UEFA Nations League, in which Spain delivered a mixed bag of performances. His first spell as manager was tainted by a serious illness in the Enrique family.
Enrique confirmed the tragic death of his nine-year-old daughter in August 2019, a few months after stepping down as Spain manager.
Spain had yet to appoint a full-time replacement for Enrique when the manager agreed to resume his duties in early 2020. His former number two Roberto Moreno had ensured that Spain qualified for Euro 2020 comfortably on top of their group.
Enrique fell out with Moreno upon his return and axed his former assistant from the technical staff.
Enrique's actual return to active management was stunted by the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread lockdowns.
In his second stint as manager, Enrique showed an early commitment to building for the future, excluding some established players like Isco and firebrand striker Diego Costa.
Reported net worth
Thanks to his playing career and managerial appointments, Enrique has racked up an estimated net worth of $20million.
The current Spain manager still enjoys the benefits of a Nike endorsement deal.
Enrique's second deal with Spain was set to be worth nearly $2million per season, but the coach requested football bosses cut his salary by 25% to account for the long inactivity at the start of his tenure.
The Asturian coach splits his time between residences in his hometown of Gijon and Barcelona.