Barcelona hires Luis Enrique as its new coach

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm •  Published: May 19, 2014
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona hired Luis Enrique as its new coach on Monday, hoping the former player can help restore the club's recent success following its first season in six years without a major trophy.

Barcelona said on its website that Enrique agreed to a two-year deal, but did not disclose further details. He will replace Argentine coach Gerardo Martino, who stepped down on Saturday immediately after the club failed to defend its Spanish league title.

The 44-year-old Enrique is one of the few players to have had successful careers with both Real Madrid and Barcelona, having left the former in 1996 to join its archrival. He stayed at Barcelona until 2004.

He had been widely expected to be appointed as the club's new coach after stepping down from his position at Celta Vigo last week, and will restore a line of in-house managers most recently continued by Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.

Barcelona also said goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is joining the club from German side Borussia Monchengladbach to replace Victor Valdes, who is leaving on his own accord.

In other moves, Barcelona said it was bringing back forward Gerard Deulofeu from Everton and midfielder Rafina Alcantara from Celta, after both young talents were loaned out last season to acquire playing experience.

The Catalan club said goalkeeper Jose Pinto would not be returning after six-and-a-half seasons as Valdes' backup and starter in the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona also ensured on Monday that star forward Lionel Messi would remain the centerpiece of its squad after finalizing an extension of his contract that will reportedly make the club's all-time leading scorer the world's highest-paid football player.

The 26-year-old Messi will earn a reported $27 million per season with further incentives able to drive the deal up to $34 million per year until the contract ends in 2017-18.

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