Luis Enrique, in front of a photo of Bobby Robson, at St George's Park. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

St. George's Park is a centre where important figures in English football are immortalised. There are photographs and sculptures to remember them by. It’s a coincidence that Barça are in Birmingham on the fifth anniversary of Sir Bobby Robson’s death. The former England manager coached Luis Enrique at Barça in the 1996/97 season. Now, the current Barça coach talked about some memories of  Robson in an interview with the English Football Federation.

What did Bobby Robson as a coach mean to you?
"He meant a lot to me, in my first year at the club, in 96/97. It was his first, and his last, year at the club, alongside Mourinho. I played in lots of positions for him, and many games, and I have great memories of that year,  and I only have positive things to say about that time".

And for FC Barcelona as a Club, how was that?

"Although it was only one season, we won lots of titles, including the Cup Winners Cup, the Spanish Cup, and the Spanish Super Cup. It was a difficult season because it was the first year post Cruyff, and Barça went for a very experienced coach in Robson, and I think he more than fulfilled all expectations. I also remember that it was fairly tough as there were lots of new signings that season".

How was he as a coach?
"The Robson we got to know in Barcelona was already a very qualified coach, who had won trophies. He had experience and success behind him. He was really well respected overall. He had very clear ideas, very attack minded, and had a clear and fairly simple philosophy".

What have you learned from him as a coach?

"At that time I never imagined that I might become a coach!. His spontaneity, naturalness ... over and above his football knowledge, he knew how to get a group to adapt to the demands of a great team, under different circumstances. I remember that at half-time, he’d use plastic cups to demonstrate tactical moves, he was a coach with lots of resources, and was so easy to get on with".

How do you think he'd feel seeing one of his players coaching FC Barcelona?
"I don’t think it would come as a surprise. He had been a great player. It’s pretty normal, with experience, that many former players become coaches. He did help us in the way he saw football, the way a coach watches his players, with a passion. I think he might see himself reflected  a little in the way that we are interpreting the football".

Robson said that Luis Enrique was one of the best players he had trained at Barcelona. What do you think about that?
"With him I always had a really good 'feeling', and a great relationship. I started playing in defence, and when he gave me the chance to play further forward I began to score goals, and he always spoke highly of me. I will always be grateful as it was my first year at Barça, and a very important year for me".

If you could ask him anything right now, what would it be?

"I would have loads of questions! Why only one?.  Lots of things about his interpretation of the game, from his time and now. It would be a very enjoyable and interesting chat for me, and I might learn a lot more".

 


Luis Enrique recuerda a Bobby Robson por fcbarcelona