Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola says that he is confident that new manager Luis Enrique will be able to emulate his achievements at the Camp Nou. Guardiola remains as one of the most successful Barcelona managers, and indeed across the world, in the last five years. The former Barcelona captain lifted several titles including two Champions League trophies with the Catalan club before joining Bayern Munich last summer. Since his departure, though, Barcelona have not done well in major competitions.
After winning the league title in Tito Vilanova’s first season at the club, Barcelona went on to lose the stranglehold on the title under Gerardo Martino last season. The club also lost its famed Champions League record where they have qualified for the semifinals consecutively for more than five years. The club quickly acted and sacked Martino from his role. They have brought in Enrique in a move that looks very similar to the way they appointed Guardiola in 2008. Enrique is also a former Barcelona captain, but he has suffered in poor spells at the likes of Roma.
Guardiola, however, says that Enrique is one of the top managers in world football and he will be able to prove that at Barcelona. The Catalan club have backed him heavily in the transfer window by spending more than £ 100 million.
“Of course he can match me at Barcelona, I think very highly of him. He will do a better job than I did. It is important for Barcelona to have its own identity again, a philosophy that we all recognise. I think we will see just that under Luis Enrique,” said Guardiola. Enrique was managing the Barcelona B team when Guardiola was in charge of the first-team. Even then, it was widely speculated that Enrique would one day replace Guardiola as the first team boss.
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After a long time, there will be a fight for the first choice goalkeeper position at Barcelona. Victor Valdes kept this position in his own hands for the last decade, but the exit of the Spanish international after the end of his contract last season has marked the end of an era. Barcelona strengthened the goalkeeper position with two signings in the summer. Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been brought in from Borussia Mönchengladbach, while World Cup star Claudio Bravo has also come into the club. It is highly expected that Ter Stegen will be starting the new campaign is the number one goalkeeper.
This is despite the fact that he failed to make it into the World Cup 2014 squad with the German national team, which already has one of the best in the world – Manuel Neuer. Bravo, though, has come to the Camp Nou with the hope that he can capture the spot going into the new season. After a spectacular World Cup with the Chilean national team, he can look forward to claiming a spot right away. He has joined from Real Sociedad for around € 12 million. He has been a regular first-team player for the last seven out of the eight seasons.
“I have been surprised by many things that Ter Stegen has done. He has great quality and is already talking the native language, Catalan. [Goalkeeping youth product] Jordi Masip is also training well and knows the methodology of Barca. In my career I have never been a substitute but I have always started from scratch with my peers. Here there is a healthy competition that will help the team to be as prepared as possible. I think we both have the same chance to be a starter,” said Bravo. Barcelona’s new season starts with a pre-season match against Nice.
Spanish giants Real Madrid have beaten German champions Bayern Munich to the signing of Costa Rica goalkeeper Kelor Navas following his outstanding displays as the minnows reached the quarter finals in the World Cup.
The Costa Rican international goalkeeper was shortlisted for the Golden Glove award along with Sergio Romero of Argentina and eventual winner Manuel Neuer of Germany. He was one of the finest shot stoppers in the tournament and it was his displays in goal that proved pivotal as Costa Rica stunned Italy and Uruguay before holding England for a draw to progress into the second round from the Group of Death. Read more »