Luis Enrique: “One cannot draw conclusions too early”

Luis Enrique: “One cannot draw conclusions too early”

FC Barcelona’s new coach Luis Enrique Martínez (44), started his spell with a victory over Recreativo de Huelva in a friendly match that ended 1-0 for the Catalans thanks to a goal from Joan Àngel Román. The coach was happy with the team’s display and especially the youngsters. “All of Barça B and the first team have been fine, have taken the game seriously, with dedication and have had opportunities. However, one can not draw conclusions too early,” he said during the post press conference.  Read more from Enrique after the jump.

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Match Review: Recreativo 0-1 FC Barcelona

Match Review: Recreativo 0-1 FC Barcelona

Luis Enrique’s coaching spell at FC Barcelona kicked off with a narrow win over Recreativo de Huelva thanks to a goal from Joan Román. Enrique introduced all 23 players that were called up for the club’s first friendly game as the players start their journey towards regaining full match fitness. The game was far from entertaining, but the time will come when fans expect beautiful football and it is not now. The squad was mainly made up of Barça B players who will aim to impress Enrique for a shot at joining the first team.

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Masip: “Enrique always had faith in young players”

Masip: “Enrique always had faith in young players”

The newly promoted Jordi Masip had nothing but praise for Luis Enrique as we start the new season. The coach recently stated that if he is to select his first-choice goalkeeper now he’d would pick Masip because of their time together at FC Barcelona B, and the young goalkeeper was motivated by Enrique’s words. “Luis Enrique already knows me, but he doesn’t really know Ter Stegen or Bravo yet. I was heartened by his words, and they have motivated me to keep working as hard as I can.” More after the jump.

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Deulofeu: “Coming home was always my objective”

Deulofeu: “Coming home was always my objective”

The long awaited return of 20-year-old Spanish winger Gerard Deulofeu has finally arrived. After a year-long loan spell in Everton, Deulofeu is now at last, a first team player. Speaking in his first ever press conference as a first team member, Gerard made it clear that he is keen and ambitious on earning a first team place. “Coming home was always my objective,” said the Catalan in Thursday’s press conference. “I learned a lot of things at Everton and now I’m going to have to work hard to achieve this season’s targets.” More after the jump.

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Luis Enrique on individual players

Luis Enrique on individual players

Barça’s new coach Luis Enrique has given us an insight on how he sees certain players in our squad. With president Josep Maria Bartomeu still faithful to his promise of making a team overhaul, the new changes have been a cause for both concern and excitement for cules around the world. The Asturian will have a lot to plan for ahead of next season, and with only his third day in charge, take a look at what he thinks of the trio in attack, the three goalkeepers, Dani Alves and more right after the jump.

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Enrique: “I am a born leader and I lead this team”

Enrique: “I am a born leader and I lead this team”

New Barcelona coach Luis Enrique held a press conference Wednesday, along with sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta. He discussed the roadmap for the upcoming season, his preferred style of play, and discussed some of the challenges over the past year.  Find out what he said after the break.

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Luis Enrique’s team

Luis Enrique’s team

Luis Enrique’s Barça is a reality, and the ex-Blaugrana captain will now aim to guide the team back to winning ways with the help of six trusted colleagues, who make up his technical team. Unlike last season, when the remains of Tito Vilanova’s team had to mix with Tata Martino’s own staff, this year’s coaching staff has members with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Read more after the jump…

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Bartomeu: “Two or three defenders are coming”

Bartomeu: “Two or three defenders are coming”

A bunch of juicy stuff from Josep Maria Bartomeu that gives fans a sneak peek into their favorite game of fantasy. “At the very least we must replace Puyol. Two or three defenders are coming. The total number of signings to come isn’t certain but at least two for sure.” Barça’s president then talks Xavi Hernández, Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suárez and more.

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Marc Muniesa: “Luis Enrique is a born fighter”

Marc Muniesa: “Luis Enrique is a born fighter”

Former Barcelona centre-back Muniesa, who started his second season with Premier League club Stoke City, gave an interview to Mundo Deportivo, and gave his view on a variety of issues. Read the full translation of the interview after the jump…

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Official: Dos Santos joins Villarreal

Official: Dos Santos joins Villarreal

FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF have reached an agreement on the transfer of Jonathan Dos Santos. The fee along with some variables could reach two million euros and Barça has the right to be involved in future sale of the player.

Dos Santos joined the Catalan club in June 2002 with his brother, Giovani Dos Santos, who now plays for Villarreal as well. Jonathan Dos Santos played through Barça’s ranks until reaching the first team. The Mexican played under Barça’s new coach, Luis Enrique, in Barça Atlètic before being promoted to the first team in 2012.

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Picture of the day: Marathon Man

Picture of the day: Marathon Man

FC Barcelona’s new coach, Luis Enrique, is a runner. Not just a few miles a day type runner, not just a marathon runner, but an ultra-marathon runner. Ultra-marathons require runners to complete multiple marathons over a course of days, often in very inhospitable territory. This picture is from 2008 when Lucho ran in the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, in which participants run 251 km over a course of 5-6 days. Insanity! There is a great video documenting this. It is in Spanish but it is well worth watching whether you understand the language or not, just to see what our coach is made of.

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Bartra: “I want to help the team as a starter”

Bartra: “I want to help the team as a starter”

FC Barcelona defender Marc Bartra (23) will start his third season with the first team. Despite knowing that the club is looking for a new center back the Catalan youngster is eager to become a regular in Luis Enrique’s team. Read his the full interview with Catalan daily Mundo Deportivo after the jump.

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Rakitić: “A new era at Barça is just beginning”

Rakitić: “A new era at Barça is just beginning”

In an interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat, Ivan Rakitić, who recently joined the Catalan club from Sevilla FC, stated how excited and motivated he is to be part of a great club like FC Barcelona. The player signed a five-year contract and will wear the number 4 shirt following in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola, Patrick Andersson, Rafa Márquez and Cesc Fàbregas. Rakitić expressed his admiration of the current Barça players, hoping that he will be able to both learn and influence them: “I’m really motivated. There are a lot of good players around me, and as well as learning from them, I also hope to help make them even better. I hope to do the best I can to help them with their objectives. In such a great team you have to go for it from the start.” Continue reading for more from the Croatian.

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Official: Jordi Masip 2017

Official: Jordi Masip 2017

Jordi Masip has signed his first professional contract that keeps him with the first team until 2017 and contains a 35 million euro release clause.

It’s a very special day for me, my friends and my family. I’m very happy, excited and keen to start the pre-season. I hope to improve as a keeper and person, and to help my team in which every way I can. If I hadn’t done things well in the past, I wouldn’t be here.” More from Masip below.

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Adriano: “I’m only thinking about Barça”

Adriano: “I’m only thinking about Barça”

Adriano Correia spoke with Es diari about his wishes to remain at the club and that he wants to sit down with Luis Enrique to talk it all over sooner than later. “I want to speak with the boss, to put all our cards on the table because soon all the rumors start and I want to start the pre-season focused regardless of whether there are rumors of me going or not. I don’t know what he [Luis Enrique] will do but the best would be for me to stay and demonstrate that I am capable of playing better than he may think.

The Brazilian was clear that his preference is to stay put in Barcelona. “At the moment I am staying. I know there is interest from other clubs but I have a contract till 2017 and until the president tells me otherwise I’m continuing. I’m only thinking about Barça and I’m excited to keep going.

More after the jump from Adriano where he discussed Tata Martino and Luis Felipe Scolari.

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Sergi Roberto: “I never doubted my future”

Sergi Roberto: “I never doubted my future”

Sergi Roberto is quoted by Sport talking about his future as well as his thoughts concerning Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández. On his future, Roberto feels comfortable, “I never doubted my future or continuing at Barça for a moment because Luis Enrique knows me well from the youth setup and I know he believes in me. I am so excited for next season. We all are.

If it was up to the young midfielder, Xavi’s future would even be a question. “I don’t know what he will eventually decide but me, from my stance, I want him to stay. I want him to stay because of everything he is, what he represents and selfishly because I learn every day being by his side.

He also speaks sense concerning Messi. “Nobody can say anything bad about him. What he’s given for the club has never been done by anyone in its history. A bad season? Yea okay, he only scored 40 goals. But obviously he cannot be 100% all the time. It’s a privilege to be able to count on the best player in the world and I hope he will be here forever.

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Breaking: Barça coach Lucho rushed to hospital

Breaking: Barça coach Lucho rushed to hospital

FC Barcelona’s newly appointed coach and former captain Luis Enrique was rushed to hospital in Terrassa near Barcelona on Monday morning where he had an emergency operation for acute appendicitis. The good news is that the surgery went well and he’ll be discharged in the coming days.

Lucho began his new job as Barça coach on May 21st, and he has spent the last few days laying the groundwork for the 2014-15 campaign which will start on July 14th.

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Picture of the Day: Luis Enrique at Ciutat Esportiva

Picture of the Day: Luis Enrique at Ciutat Esportiva

FC Barcelona first team coach Luis Enrique visits the Ciutat Esportiva consistently to work with his staff on preparing for next season. Yesterday Claudio Chaves photographed Luis Enrique jumping over the fence at the Ciutat Esportiva, and today a similar photograph was taken by Pep Morata at the Barça facilities. Hopefully the coach will transfer some of his energy to the team in the upcoming season.

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If I were Zubi – Part 3

If I were Zubi – Part 3

Here we are, many thousands of words later, the third and final part of “If I were Zubi.” Having covered Luis Enrique and goodbyes in Part 1 then the goalkeeping and defensive situation in Part 2, naturally it’s time for the midfield and the attack. Having spent an estimated sum of between 50 and 70 million euros of the soft 100 spending cap on the defense, Part 1 left the remaining lines as follows:

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Van Gaal and Kluivert endorse Luis Enrique

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All you need to know about Rafinha and Deulofeu

All you need to know about Rafinha and Deulofeu

Gerard Deulofeu and Rafinha Alcantara are back from their loan spells last season and the fans are already excited about witnessing both youngsters in action. Deulofeu spent a season in the English Premier League with Everton C.F. while Rafinha stayed in La Liga with Celta de Vigo and was coached by FC Barcelona’s newly appointed Luis Enrique. Both of them look motivated to start their career at FC Barcelona and all Culés are excited as well. Below are some facts about both players.

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Bartomeu: “You are going to enjoy watching Barça next season!”

Bartomeu: “You are going to enjoy watching Barça next season!”

FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke at the XI Congrés de Penyes Barcelonistes d’Andalusia, Ceuta i Melilla in Málaga on Saturday evening with a confident message to all culés out there, “I know it can’t have been easy reading all the criticism and people saying this is the end of a cycle at the Club or an end to the way we play, but that is just not true. Don’t take any notice of them. I want to tell you loud and clear that they are wrong. This Barça is alive and kicking – more alive than ever!” More from the club president after the jump.

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Picture of the day: Coach Puyol?

Picture of the day: Coach Puyol?

Before he became FC Barcelona’s newest coach, Luis Enrique was, of course, an FC Barcelona player. Carles Puyol, FCB’s newly retired captain, and Iván de la Peña were his close friends at that time. The three old friends reportedly had dinner together Wednesday in Barcelona. Is it too far of a stretch to think that Lucho is trying to recruit them for his coaching staff? I hope this rumour is true because I’m already having Puyi withdrawals.

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Lucho’s era begins July 14th

Lucho’s era begins July 14th

The arrival of former player and captain Luis Enrique as coach has brought out a lot of excitement between the fans, with claims that suggest that FC Barcelona has now entered to a new, Lucho’s era. It’s been officially announced on the club website that the season preparations will begin July 14th. At that point though the players who will be at the World Cup will not be available.

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Jordi Alba: “So much disrespect”

Jordi Alba: “So much disrespect”

Jordi Alba was on Al Primer Toque yesterday and had some choice words on several subjects. He made a point to reference all the many on and off pitch issues that plagued FC Barcelona over the season and was happy to look forward and resuscitate a “winning mentality.

“The players are those who play and we are the ones that need give it all. The manager can instruct things but we play. I believe at times we were unlucky, and other times our opponent was better. It was a poor season but I am sure the one coming will be better.” It gets better after the jump.

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If I were Zubi – Part 1

If I were Zubi – Part 1

Luis Enrique’s opening remarks on this summer’s transfer business were carefully prefixed with the words “try” and “best possible”. He also remarked “there is a market and there are negotiations.” Reading between the lines one would probably discover a frustrated story of targets not acquired in summers past. These are however the realities. In times gone by, only a decade ago, the best global talent found it’s way to six or seven historical powers. Now those scarce resources are shared by at least a handful more, and these handful draw upon limitless wells of riches, until very recently without restraints. FC Barcelona contends not only with new forces of equal or greater financial might, but also clubs with vendettas and clubs rich in ambition either planning to return to previous heights or conquer the status quo.

This is the world we find Andoni Zubizarreta, for all effective purposes a symbolic figure for Barça overall. And this is the world I am imagining myself in, in a little game called “If I were Zubi”, and let me tell you, it’s hardly a holiday.

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On this Day: The unthinkable switch

On this Day: The unthinkable switch

On this day, 18 years ago, May 27th 1996, he made the unforgivable switch: Real Madrid to FC Barcelona. Over the course of history, 33 footballers have played for both clubs, but only 21 have made direct moves, and of those just three went from the capital to Catalonia. One of those three, and the last man to do so, was the new Barça boss Luis Enrique Martínez García, also known as Luis Enrique or Lucho.

Lus Enrique initially signed a five year deal, which he fulfilled then played another three seasons before leaving Barcelona and retiring from football is 2004. A decade later, he’s back.

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Orchestrating a revival

Orchestrating a revival

Following the failed La Liga decider, Josep Maria Bartomeu declared FC Barcelona would begin a period of “profound change.” Profound suggests a certain magnitude, yet I believe there will be less change than it implies. Much of the profoundness has already happened. The symbolic heart and soul of Barcelona, decade-long club captain Carles Puyol, has called it quits, and Barça’s goalie in shining armour, Víctor Valdés, is moving on after twelve years of historic success. That is already rather profound.

Then another not so minor change: Former club captain and fan favorite Luis Enrique is named manager, and blaugranas feel an odd, fluttering sensation for the first time in eons. Hope. Lucho took to his press conference like a fish to water. He was good natured and calm, but confident and assured. After a quick four to five minute speech, he answered questions from the press for another hour.

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Luis Enrique: “We need positive results from the start”

Luis Enrique: “We need positive results from the start”

FC Barcelona’s newly signed coach and former captain Luis Enrique sat down with Barça TV and the club’s official website for an interview about the team’s plans for next season. Read Lucho’s first full interview with Barça right after the jump.

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Jordi Alba: “Messi criticism is unjust”

Jordi Alba: “Messi criticism is unjust”

A lot of things have been happening in and around Camp Nou the last couple of days; Messi signing an improved contract, Luis Enrique appointed the new manager, Ter Stegen becoming Barcelona’s new goalkeeper and youngsters Deulofeu & Rafinha coming back from loan to join the first team next season. Amidst all of this, left back Jordi Alba (25) came out to defend his team mate Lionel Messi (26).

According to Alba, Messi deserves more respect. “It is easy to criticise and make comments but they are very unjust. He has won the Ballon d’Or four times and he will definitely win more. If they criticise him, then what will they say about me?”

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