Luis Enrique and Juan Carlos Valerón are set for a reunion on Saturday. / PHOTOMUNTATGE FCB

Forty-somethings Luis Enrique and Juan Carlos Valerón will meet again on Saturday at Camp Nou. Luis Enrique, now as coach of FC Barcelona, will face Valerón, still active and back at UD Las Palmas, the club where he first burst onto the scene.The last time the two met at Camp Nou was in 1997 in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals. Barça went into the game after having won 4–0 at Las Palmas in a first leg that saw both players see action. In the return match on 3 April Luis Enrique would be one of the evenings goal scorers despite not even starting — he came in for Albert Celades in minute 14. The current Barça coach headed home a cross from Hristo Stoichkov to make it 2–0 before the half-hour mark. Earlier, Òscar Garcia had opened the scoring for Barça and the Portuguese defender Fernando Couto later made it 3–0 in the second half. That year, Barça would go on to win the Cup by beating Betis 3-2 in the Final, held at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain.

In the semi-final game at Camp Nou, a young Juan Carlos Valerón, just 21 at the time, started for Las Palmas. He eventually left the club that summer and wouldn't come back until he signed with them just last season. After beginning his career in the Canary Islands, he first signed with Mallorca (1997/98), then with Atlético Madrid (1998-2000) and finally with Deportivo de La Coruña, where he played from 2000 to 2013. During that time Deportivo had their most successful years during which Valerón was also summoned to play for the Spanish national team in the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan as well as the UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal.

In the summer of 2002, Valerón and Luis Enrique coincided at the World Cup after both were called to play by the Spanish coach José Antonio Camacho. Now, 18 years after that game against Las Palmas in which Luis Enrique scored one of Barça's three goals, the two meet again at last, with one coaching and the other playing.

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