BARCELONA APPOINTS NEW COACH, AS MESSI SEALS NEW DEAL

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LUIZ ENRIQUE

44 year-old Luis Enrique has signed a two-year contract as Barcelona’s coach; following Gerardo Martino’s exit. The ex-Spain international spent eight seasons at Camp Nou as a player and another three in charge of the club’s B team, takes over from Gerardo Martino, who stepped down after they were dethroned as Liga champions following a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Luis Enrique met Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta at his home in Gava earlier this month and his move was a formality as soon as he stepped down as Celta boss on Friday.

“The FC Barcelona Board of Directors confirmed Luis Enrique Martinez as the new first team coach, following a proposal from sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta,” a short statement read on Monday.

The former midfield ace joined Barca from great rivals Real Madrid in 1996 and went on to establish himself as a firm favorite with the Camp Nou crowd, winning two Liga titles, two Copa del Rey and a Uefa Cup Winners  before retiring in 2004.
Luis Enrique rejoined the club as a coach in 2008 and enjoyed a successful stint in charge of their B team before departing for Roma in 2011.

He only stayed at the Stadio Olimpico for a season before moving to Celta in 2013, whom he led to a ninth-placed finish in La Liga.

Still on Barcelona news, striker Lionel Messi put pen to paper yesterday when he signed a new contract with the club after meeting with President Josep Maria Bartomeu alongside his father at Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi has signed a new and improved contract with Barcelona, the club announced.

The Argentina international reached a provisional agreement over a new deal at the end of last week following months of speculation that he had reached an impasse over fresh terms.

The 26-year-old released a statement earlier on Monday claiming he could be forced to consider his optionsshould he no longer feel the “affection” of the club he joined as a youngster, though he maintained he was eager to continue his Camp Nou career.

And the Rosario-born star has now finally brought an end to speculation over his immediate future by putting pen-to-paper on a new and improved contract. Messi agreed a new contract with the club worth €20million net a year.
“FC Barcelona would like to announce that Leo Messi and the Club signed a revised contract this afternoon,” a statement on the club’s official website read.

“The signing took place in the presence of Leo Messi, his father Jorge Messi and the Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu, as well as the sporting Vice-president Jordi Mestre and the Club CEO, Antoni Rossich.

“During the signing, which was made in the Presidential Box at the Camp Nou, Leo Messi repeatedly expressed his excitement about the new deal.”

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