From the reserves to the first team

From the reserves to the first team

Luis Enrique is the eleventh first team manager who was previously on the bench with the reserves Rexach, Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova are the three most recent examples

Before Luis Enrique took over the first team, ten other FC Barcelona first team managers had previously run the reserves, although many of these did so as caretakers. For the record, the men were Jesza Poszoni, Ramon Llorens, Vicenç Sasot, Seguer, Laureano Ruiz, José Luis Romero, Rexach, Jesús Antonio de la Cruz, Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.

Training players and training trainers

Jesza Poszony came to Barça in 1918 to manage the fourth team. But by 1924 he had risen to the position of first team coach. In 1939 Ramon Llorens stayed at the club after retiring as a player and was a veritable talent spotter from 1939 right through to 1985, discovering the likes of Biosca and Manchón. He managed the team as a bridge between Fernández and Daucik in 1950.  Vicenç Sasot followed in Llorens’ footsteps in 1951. He trained FC Barcelona youth teams until 1964. When César Rodríguez resigned, Sasot took over the first team until 1965.

In 1969/70 Josep Seguer replaced Artigas as head coach, making his debut in a game against Sabadell. A year later he became the first ever manager of FC Barcelona Atlètic, a side created in the summer of 1970 out of a merger between Club Esportiu Comtal and Atlètic Catalunya. Seguer was reserve team manager for two seasons between 1970 and 1972.

Laureano Ruiz and José Luis Romero

In 1976, when Hennes Weisweiler left the club, Laureano Ruiz was his replacement. Ruiz has been managing the youth team for the four years before that. He was a considerable success at the helm of the first team, and later managed Barça Atlètic. José Luis Romero was part of the Barcelona coaching staff led by Lucien Müller in 1978/79, and after that was assistant to Udo Lattek. But when the latter was sacked, Romero took his place, but only for one single game against Salamanca at the Helmántico (1-1). From 1983 to 1984 he was on the bench at Barça Atlètic.

Rexach and Toño de la Cruz followed by Guardiola

In 1979 Carles Rexach, returned to the club to manage the youth team. After that, he was assistant to both Luis Aragonés (1987/1988) and Johan Cruyff (1988/1996). He occasionally stood in for the former, while under the latter he played an important role in the Dream Team era, winning four leagues and the club’s first European Cup. In 1996, he took over from the dismissed Cruyff and returned in 2000/2001 as a replacement for the man who started that season in charge, Llorenç Serra Ferrer.

In 1980 Toño de la Cruz joined the FC Barcelona youth coaching staff. In 2002/2003 he started working directly under Louis Van Gaal with the first team and after the Dutchman was sacked on January 28 2003, he was head coach for a few days, including one game with Atlético Madrid. After that, Radomir Antić was hired as full-time boss.

On June 21, 2007 Pep Guardiola was presented as new coach of Barça Atlètic. He led the side to promotion into Division 2B with such players as Sergio Busquets, Pedro and Thiago in the side. He took over the first team on June 17 2008, and went on to win an incredible 14 out of 19 possible major trophies in his four seasons in charge, including two Champions Leagues. He employed the same 4-3-3 system that had served so well with the reserves, but showed plenty of adaptability, often switching to a more attacking 3-4-3.

Tito and Luis Enrique the successors

In 2001 Tito Vilanova returned to the club to work with an U16 side featuring the likes of Piqué, Fàbregas and Messi. In 2007/08 he became the assistant to Guardiola with Barça Atlètic, and then played the same role with the first team. When Guardiola left, he became his full-time replacement on April 27 for one season, in which FC Barcelona won the league with a record 100 points. But on April 25, 2013, at the age of 45, he announced his retirement for health reasons.

Luis Enrique became Barça B manager in June 2008, substituting Pep Guardiola in control of a side that featured several future stars such as Bartra, Montoya and Thiago. They won promotion to Division 2A in 2010/11, where the side finished with a record haul of 71 points to finish third. The Asturian then went to AS Roma, and after that Celta Vigo, before returning to Barça to take over the first team in May 2014.

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