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Who is Spain coach Luis Enrique? Clubs managed, playing style, family tragedy and Ferran Torres connection

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After finishing third at Euro 2020, Spain will be hoping to build again and put recent World Cup disappointment behind them in Qatar.

La Roja have struggled since winning the World Cup in 2010, knocked out in the group stage in 2014 before losing to Russia on penalties in the Round of 16 four years ago. 

They sacked manager Julen Lopetegui just two days before the 2018 World Cup, with his replacement, Fernando Hierro, leaving the role after an early exit from Russia. 

Luis Enrique was subsequently named Spain’s manager and will be leading the side in Qatar, but the tournament will cap a difficult few years for the former midfielder. 

MORE: World Cup kits: Spain, Portugal and South Korea among the standout shirts for Qatar 2022

Who is Luis Enrique?

Enrique, now 52, was a versatile Spanish player who notably won La Liga titles with both Real Madrid and Barcelona. 

After five seasons with Los Blancos, he joined their fierce rivals in 1996 and ended his playing career at Camp Nou. 

After hanging up his boots in 2004, Enrique returned to Barcelona four years later as Barcelona B manager, where he replaced Pep Guardiola who had been promoted to the first team. 

Enrique impressed in his first managerial stint and joined Roma next in 2011, but his time in Italy proved unsuccessful and he left after just one season. 

Enrique returned to his homeland in 2013 to take charge of La Liga side Celta Vigo, guiding them to ninth and securing a famous 2-0 win over Real Madrid. 

That campaign was enough to sway Barcelona to appoint him as their first-team manager in 2014 and despite a bumpy start, he won both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League in his first season at the helm.

Enrique saw out another two seasons at Camp Nou, winning nine trophies overall, before deciding not to renew his contract with the club in 2017. 

That decision meant he was the perfect candidate to become Spain’s new manager after the World Cup in 2018.

Luis Enrique family tragedy following death of his child 

Enrique temporarily resigned from his position as Spain boss in June 2019, with his departure explained at the time as simply for “family reasons”.

It later became apparent that his young daughter, Xana, was battling osteosarcoma – a form of bone cancer. Sadly, she died a few months later. 

The sense of shock at the news in the Spanish football community, and further afield, was obvious, and a host of Enrique’s former players paid their respects, among them former Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

“We are with you, all the strength of the world,” the Argentine wrote to Enrique at the time on Twitter.

Following that news, there was understandable doubt as to whether Enrique would ever return to management, but it was announced in November 2019 that he would return to lead Spain.

The 52-year-old was at the helm as La Roja reached the semifinals of Euro 2020, where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Italy. 

Luis Enrique daughter and Ferran Torres connection

One of the players to have flourished under Enrique for Spain is Barcelona striker Ferran Torres, with the pair apparently seeing plenty of each other off the pitch as well as on it.

Ahead of his move from Manchester City to the Camp Nou in January, it was reported that Torres was in a relationship with Enrique’s daughter, Sira Martinez.

Martinez is a talented sportsperson herself, as a Spanish showjumping champion at just 21 years old. 

Luis Enrique tactics and style of play

Unlike previous Barcelona managers, Enrique stood out at Camp Nou for deploying a more direct style of football that saw Barca become one of the best counter-attacking teams in the world. 

He has carried that through with him to his Spain reign, and regularly relies on an attacking 4-3-3 formation that places emphasis heavily on wingers to stretch the opposition. 

Enrique is a strong leader who stands by his tactics and isn’t afraid to confront star players, having reportedly had run-ins with both Messi and Francesco Totti while managing them. 

Despite that, he still demands their respect, with Messi describing him as one of his best-ever coaches, alongside Guardiola. 

Luis Enrique salary, contract with Spain

Enrique is currently contracted to the Spain national team until December 31, 2022. How Spain perform at the World Cup in Qatar will no doubt determine whether he remains manager beyond that. 

According to Finance Football, Enrique earns an annual salary of around €1.15 million ($1.12m) with Spain, a significantly smaller sum than the likes of Germany boss Hansi Flick and England’s Gareth Southgate. 

Luis Enrique record as manager

Roma record

Games Wins Draws Losses
41 16 9 16

Celta Vigo record

Games Wins Draws Losses
40 15 7 18

Barcelona record

Games Wins Draws Losses
181 138 22 21

Spain record*

Games Wins Draws Losses
40 23 10 7

*Stats correct as of November 18, 2022.

Luis Enrique trophies won

As a manager with Barcelona:

  • La Liga: 2014/15, 2015/16
  • Copa del Rey: 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17
  • Supercopa de Espana: 2016
  • UEFA Champions League: 2014/15
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2015
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2015

As a player with Real Madrid:

  • La Liga: 1994/95
  • Copa del Rey: 1992/93
  • Supercopa de Espana: 1993

As a player with Barcelona:

  • La Liga: 1997/98, 1998/99
  • Copa del Rey: 1996/97, 1997/98
  • Supercopa de Espana: 1996
  • UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1996/97
  • UEFA Super Cup: 1997

As a player with Spain:


Credit: sportingnews.com

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