Not a lot of people have had an opportunity to play for 2 of the biggest clubs in the world. Fc Barcelona and Real Madrid are widely considered as the destination everyone dreams of reaching at some point in their career. But only lucky and best of the best could have the luxury of playing for either of the clubs. Then there is Luis Enrique who had an opportunity to play for both the giants. It is, however, a controversial thing to play for Madrid and then play for Barcelona. Enrique did this in 1996 when Barca signed him from the rivals and other Spanish giant Real Madrid. That was the beginning of a fruitful and beautiful relationship.
A glorious career at Barça
Many people nowadays might not know but Enrique actually was a player for Fc Barcelona. Not just any other ordinary player playing for the club. But a very fine one. The kind of resume he had In his playing days for the club is beyond extraordinary. Enrique has always been seen as a successful manager of Fc Barcelona but he was an equally successful player for the club as well. In his first three seasons at the club he bagged a massive 46 clubs. This is an insane number considering he wasn’t a proper forward and preferred being at the midfield dictating the ball.
Fans were a bit skeptical to have a Madrid player playing for them. But once he started to play his loyalty for the Catalan giants was quite evident. He scored many times in the Clasico including his iconic 25-yard finish against Madrid in Bernabeu. Lucho definitely became a fan favorite and was also made captain of the club. He had the opportunity to win Spanish player of the year award. His trophy cabinet for Barca is stacked with silverware. His incredible resume includes 2 La Liga, 2 Copa Del Rey, 1 super Copa de Espana, 1 Uefa Super Cup and 1 Uefa Cup winners cup. He had won it all as a player for Barca and he carried on the legacy when he decided to be on the sidelines for the club.
Enrique a successful manager
There aren’t plenty of players who were good with the ball on their feet and were also good at dictating the game from the sidelines. But Enrique surely has a mastery of both of them. He came to Barca in 2014 for a 3-year contract. People were skeptical, fans had doubts but the board and players had faith in the club legend. In the same season that he signed he secured a European treble with the club. Meaning he won all 3 major trophies in just one season (la Liga, Copa del Rey, UCL). There is only a handful of managers who could claim to win a European treble and Enrique did it in his first season as a manager for Barça, now that’s actually some achievement.
However, in the following years he couldn’t replicate the success. Fans raised brows when Barça lost to their bitter rivals Atletico Madrid in quarter finals of the following ro16 campaign of UCL.
However, that season as well Barça won La Liga and Copa Del Rey. But fans demanded European Glory. Barça missed that in the next season as well and lost the league title too. Fans started to have doubts in Enrique’s style of football.
But still, no one can call his 3 years at Barca as a manager a failure. In his tenure he won 9 major trophies including 2 La Ligas and one UCL. Winning these trophies is a dream of many managers. Some top managers couldn’t have half of what he did in 3 years with Barça in their whole career. This alone speaks volumes about how good of a manager Luis Enrique was for Barça.
For fans of the club, Luis Enrique will always be a legend, and his immense contribution on and off the pitch will always be celebrated.