Luis Enrique: Barcelona talk just hearsay

The Celta coach insists the rumours linking him with the role Gerardo Martino has filled were just hearsay and sent his best wishes to Tito Vilanova
Luis Enrique has insisted that any suggestion he held talks with Barcelona about replacing Tito Vilanova were just hearsay.

The current Celta coach was reported to be one of the favourites to step into the resigned Vilanova's shoes, but the job ultimately went to Newell's Old Boys boss Gerardo Martino on Tuesday.

Enrique, who spent eight years at Camp Nou during his playing career and shone as Barcelona B's trainer between 2008 and 2011, was keen to distance himself with ever having been in line for the position but admitted being linked with the club was flattering.

"Either from the club or by me, there has been no contact, it is simply hearsay," the Spaniard told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

"These are things which from within the club we have been oblivious all week. I've been continuing with the same idea of preparing for pre-season.

"With Barca, I will be eternally grateful because I played there for eight years and they were the first to trust me as a coach.

"So the fact that I am being linked with a club of that size and level is always a compliment, but the people inside football forever must stick to reality, not the words or the comments."

Enrique was also keen to send his best wishes to Vilanova, who opted to resign on Friday to focus on his battle with cancer.

"I want to send him a big hug," he added. "He's a natural fighter. I hope the recovery goes as well as possible. We are all with him."