Luis Enrique confirms Barcelona departure

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The manager said in a post-match news conference he will not return next season due to the "need to rest" following his third season with the club

Luis Enrique has announced he will step down as Barcelona head coach at the end of this season.

The 46-year-old's contract expires in June and he will not renew, citing the "need for rest".

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Luis Enrique confirmed the news in the wake of Barca's 6-1 win over Sporting Gijon on Wednesday, which, temporarily at least, took them above Real Madrid at the top of the table.

“I want to announce to everyone that I won’t continue at Barcelona next year. It’s difficult, but a decision I have thought about,” Luis Enrique said.

“I need to rest. That’s the main reason why I am not going to continue.”

Luis Enrique was thought to have previously come close to stepping away from the club at the end of a tumultuous first season in charge at Camp Nou.

After replacing Tata Martino following the 2014-14 season, he won a treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles. The following year he picked up a domestic double.

But Barcelona have had a rough stretch recently. The club are on the verge of elimination in the Champions League after losing 4-0 to PSG in the first leg of their last-16 encounter.

"It is a difficult, measured and well thought-out decision and I think I have to be loyal to what I think," he said.

"I would like to thank the club for the confidence they have shown in me. It's been three unforgettable years."

Luis Enrique joined Barcelona as a player in 1996 and appeared in 207 games before retiring in 2004.

He coached Barcelona B from 2008-11 and had coaching stints with Roma and Celta before rejoining Barca's first team in 2014.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: "Luis Enrique has brought us great success and he can still bring us more. The players are motivated to do it.

"We accept Luis Enrique's decision. He has been a great coach. Now is it time to end his spell in the best possible way."