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With Luis Enrique, a new era begins


There was a breath of fresh air about the Spanish Football Federation’s presentation of Luis Enrique yesterday. Flanked by new sporting director Jose Francisco Molina and president Luis Rubiales (who was elected in May), the three new faces sat on high stools, looking impeccable, in front of a striking red backdrop.

It was the perfect stage for the presentation of Luis Enrique and also for the press that came to question him. He has not gotten along with the press, but that is something that does not have to affect either the general public or the team. And, in any case, now is a different time. Concord is always good, for football and for everyone involved.

To me, he seems like a good coach, called upon to face the same task that he faced at Barcelona. There he inherited the team of Guardiola, which had been worn down over the years. He clashed with Messi, and suffered the consequences, but now, with Spain, there is no Messi.

There is a lot of talk about the “Chief”, Sergio Ramos, but there hasn’t been a player like Messi to deal with in the national team since Ricardo Zamora, who hardly anyone remembers now. Luis Enrique has the desire and energy to take charge of a team dedicated to renewing itself. And he announced he wanted to do it without changing the style – like he did at Barcelona.

Iniesta isn’t coming back, save a pending testimonial match, which will be in many ways a salute to the end of an era. With Gerard Pique, it is not so clear. “It’s something personal,” said Luis Enrique. Pique had announced he would retire from the national team after the World Cup. But Luis Enrique hopes he will decide to stay on, mainly because his position is somewhere where we are weak.

Regarding the rest, the new coach said he had a list of 70 names that could make his team sheet, but his first team sheet will not be known until the game against England in September, which will be followed by the clash with Croatia. A new era begins.