Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has decided not to return to the club next season. The Spaniard said on Wednesday that he will step aside in the summer, ending a three-year reign at the Camp Nou.
Enrique has been under fire since Barcelona stumbled down the stretch last season. They crashed out of the Champions League and had to hold on for dear life in a La Liga title race it looked like they’d locked up earlier. After that, the pressure was on him coming into this season and the Catalans haven’t exactly shone bright.
Barcelona has spent the whole season trailing Real Madrid in La Liga, which always rubs people the wrong way at the Camp Nou. The saving grace for the Catalans was their progression in the Champions League, but they were thrashed, 4-0, in the first leg of their round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain and now look set to go out of the competition before the quarterfinals for the first time in a decade.
After getting crushed in Paris, it looked like Enrique’s days were numbered and instead of putting Barcelona in a position to get rid of him, he’s deciding to step aside and move on.
There was a time when Enrique looked like the perfect man for Barcelona. He led the club to a the treble in his first season, capturing La Liga, the Champions League and Copa del Rey, a campaign that earned him FIFA World Coach of the Year honors. And after a fast start to the 2015/16 season, people were calling him one of the best managers in the world with an unstoppable team. That obviously all fell apart, but while Enrique will leave the club in some disappointment, he also led one of their best ever teams.
While Enrique is set to leave, Barcelona still do have plenty to play for. They may be trailing Real Madrid in La Liga, but they’re still in the race. They also have the Copa del Rey final to play, too. So Enrique’s time at the Camp Nou may be coming to an end, but he could go out on a high, winning a trophy or two.