It was a slightly awkward position for Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to find himself in. Speaking to the press the Monday after Barcelona won its fifth European title and wrapped up a historic second treble, Bartomeu had to offer reassurances that Luis Enrique, the manager who’d won those three trophies – La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League - would still be at the club next season.
“You don’t have to suffer, Luis Enrique will continue,” said Bartomeu to Catalunya Radio. “His season has been a 10/10 and there is no need to break contract.”
Enrique, who like Pep Guardiola captured the treble in his first season in charge at Barça, had bypassed an opportunity to make similar assurances over the weekend, saying only, “These decisions will be made later.”
While it would seem unthinkable for a club that had just won a European title to consider parting ways with its manager, one only need to look at the situation with Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti to realize it’s not that uncommon.
Though Enrique’s position was under fire earlier in the season, the former Barça player and B-Team coach righted the ship at the turn of the year before ultimately guiding the club to one of its most successful seasons ever. It seems now that the 45-year-old will remain in charge, and having already written his name in the club’s history, could potentially become one of the great Barcelona managers.
Dani Alves, meanwhile, looks to be on the verge of leaving the club: Although there is a new contract on the table, the Brazilian has yet to sign it and seems to be considering a future away from the Camp Nou. This was underlined by Monday’s unveiling of Aleix Vidal as a Barcelona player. The former Sevilla man can play as a winger or as a right back and looks to be natural replacement for the marauding Alves.
But even as Vidal was presented for the first time in a Blaugrana jersey Monday, the subject of Enrique’s future loomed.
“Yes, I spoke with Luis Enrique and it is clear that he will be the manager,” said Vidal at his unveiling.
Barça vice president Jordi Mestre offered similar assurances, saying “Luis Enrique has a year left on his contract and there is no debate for us, there are no problems.”
Meanwhile the La Liga and European champions continue to be linked with Paul Pogba, who shone in Saturday’s final while representing the opposing team. Pogba, considered one of the brightest young midfield talents in Europe, is a target for a number of top clubs. However the 22-year-old who joined Juventus on a free transfer from Manchester United three years ago, is thought to prefer a move to the Catalan capital.