After winning the game vs. Sporting Gijon last night, Enrique turned to press and said that he won’t be signing a new contract with Barcelona. He explained that he feels tired and needs a rest from everything. A statement similar to those Guardiola gave several seasons ago, when he decided to go public with his decision.
Enrique, a guy who was respected for all the titles that he had won, never quite entered the stardom. The throne still belongs to Guardiola, and few true Barcelona fans would disagree. However, Enrique found his place in hearts of all Barcelona fans. Illogical moves that he made could be pined to his own visions of how the things should look on the field. In all honesty, he hadn’t looked for excuses when the things went wrong. He was the one to step in front of his squad and take the blame. His titles will be there as the legacy of a stubborn Asturian.
As the current season is nearing its end, out of the nowhere the title shot appeared for Enrique once more. In his last season at Barcelona, he will have a chance to wave goodbye with yet another title to his name. Real Madrid unexpectedly drew at home vs. Las Palmas. In a very exciting game, it was the visitors who held the 2 goals lead until the dying moments of the game, just before Ronaldo scored a penalty (another one) and minutes after added his second of the night. It was an important point, but not nearly enough to secure the safe lead. With the game in hand which is a trip to a very tough ground in Vigo, Real Madrid could reclaim the top spot. The only problem for them is that they will be hosting Barcelona. Should they lose that game, Barcelona will overcome them once again. But this is a speculation for now. Madrid are in pole position at the moment, though Barcelona control their own faith as well.
If both rivals manage to go into their match after winning their remaining games, it will be some spectacle – both teams playing for the title and winner takes it all!
Enrique eased the pressure on him after revealing that he will part his way with Barcelona. He was under tremendous pressure from the public after losing the game vs. PSG. His side was torn apart by rampant Parisians. Enrique is aware that the turnaround is highly unlikely. Although he would be hoping for a miracle, his decision not to go on as Barcelona manager will help him gain the necessary peace. He does not need to fear that bad result would face him the axe.
Guardiola did a similar thing in his final Barcelona season. He went public with his decision to step down as Barcelona manager and went on to win Copa del Rey final, after both Champions League and La Liga were lost. Enrique will be hoping for a similar outcome. However, faith offered him an interesting twist of events – not only that he is in the final of Copa del Rey, but he has a fair shot of winning La Liga and go all out against PSG. That would be some ending at the club for Asturian.
It is not an appropriate time to analyze his Barcelona legacy just yet. With the season being unraveled and few months left before his journey ends, one should wait and give go into deep analysis of success he has made as Barcelona manager.
Titles will speak for themselves, but other things as well. Not everything was as positive as Enrique’s trophy cabinet. He influenced clubs on many level, as much as he was allowed to do it. His legacy will be his own, but the period of his Barcelona managerial career will be marked as period when Barcelona’s values dangerously deteriorated. The team was dragged by a magic of Messi and the help he was getting from Suarez and Neymar. The charm on the field has been largely lost, while the aura of the team that respects positive values disappeared. Enrique has his share of the blame, but twist of good fortune gave him a fair chance to redeem himself.
To leave as a victorious would be his fairy-tale ending.