Abelardo Fernandez: Luis Enrique cannot afford to ignore Barcelona job

The former Camp Nou star is believed to be firmly in the running for the vacant post following Tito Vilanova's resignation, and one of his former teammates has given his backing.
Luis Enrique "cannot afford" to turn down the opportunity to coach Barcelona, according to his former Blaugrana teammate Abelardo Fernandez.

The current Celta Vigo coach - who enjoyed great success as Barcelona B boss between 2008 and 2011 - is one of the favorites to take over from Tito Vilanova after he resigned on health grounds on Friday.

Fernandez has backed Enrique to do a sterling job if offered the position, highlighting his association with the club and previous success in a coaching capacity with the side's La Masia prospects.

"I have not talked to Luis Enrique yet, but it is an opportunity that he cannot afford to miss," Abelardo, who played at Camp Nou alongside Enrique for six years, told Cadena Cope.

"He played for the club and has lived in Barcelona. [He'd be] a success. He has done great things with Barcelona B."

Abelardo also encouraged Barca to sign up a center back this summer, suggesting that Carles Puyol can no longer be relied upon to play week in week out.

"The option of signing a defender is their priority," he added. "Puyol is who he is, but [it is a struggle] for him to play 50-60 games a season."

Newell's Old Boys boss Gerardo Martino has also been strongly tipped to fill the void left by Vilanova, with the club eager to appoint a successor before the start of the season.