Taking part in the Joan Gamper Trophy is not a new experience for Luis Enrique. In the 49th Gamper in the Club’s history it will be Luis Enrique’s eighth trophy match. This time it’s a little different though, as it will be his first Gamper as the first team coach.
The coach is already aware of what it feels like to make his debut in front of the fans in the Barça Summer tournament, that each season is used to present the first team to the fans. He made his Gamper debut as a player on 20 August 1996, in his first game in Barcelona as a Barça player after his summer signing that season. Luis Enrique made his debut in the 2-0 win over San Lorenzo in the semi-finals, in front of 33.500 fans at the Olympic Stadium in Montjuïc. It was the last Gamper with semi-finals and a final, and Luis Enrique played every minute of the 96 tournament, as he also played in the final against Inter Milan, in the 2-1 win.
Since his arrival from Real Madrid, in the summer of 1996, until he left the Club, at the end of the 2003/2004 season, Luis Enrique only missed one Joan Gamper Trophy. That was in 2000, against PSV, when he was in the final stages of recovery from a knee injury that had kept him out for two months
During his eight seasons with the Club, Luis Enrique won all seven Gampers that he took part in, three of those in a penalty shoot-out (2-2 draw against Sampdoria and Santos, and 1-1 draw against Boca Juniors). The biggest win came in 1999, 3-1 against Sporting Lisbon. In that game, he came on in the 59th minute for Frank de Boer, en Puyol’s and Xavi’s first Gampers
Now, after many games as a player, on the 18th of August, Luis Enrique will make his Gamper debut as first team coach, just a few days before the official start of the season.