Coaching Barcelona is not for the faint of heart. Over the past 10 years the entire ecosystem of the club; its players, executives, coaching staff and fans have all come to expect to compete for a treble if not win one every year. Of course, such expectations are impossible to meet year in and year out, and such expectations are bound to burn out whomever their manager is.
Such is the case with the man who set their current standard, Pep Guardiola, and their current manager Luis Enrique has succumbed to the same fate. Like Guardiola, he lasted three seasons at the helm, and was nearly as successful as the legend. Thus far Barça has garnered eight trophies under Lucho, with a chance at 11 if they can pull out a miracle against PSG in the Champions League.
Enrique announced earlier this week he would not be continuing with the club, citing mental burnout. Indeed, like Pep he committed his entire being to the club, which is needed in order to maintain the Barcelona standard, not to mention handle a locker room with so many stars. It comes during a season when many are questioning his effectiveness at the helm, even after all the trophies.
The doubting goes to show how volatile life is at one of sport's biggest clubs, after all he did rescue Barcelona from completely imploding on themselves after the Tata Martino era.
Therefore the most logical question now is, who do they look to now?
If their previous pattern is any indication, Barcelona will not look to bring in a big name to manage the club. Unless he is a Barcelona lifer like Guardiola or Enrique. It more than likely will be another company man, like Guardiola a former player and B team manager, Pep's successor the late Tito Vilanova who served on Pep's staff, and Enrique a former player and fan favorite.
Barcelona likely is not keen on bringing in any outsiders for fear of another Martino fiasco. However the next manager definitely needs to come in with a reputation or establish one at the outset with this group of players that have won everything imaginable. Even after all these years Guardiola era stars remain, therefore they know what it takes to summit the highest peaks and likely won't respect anyone that can't show the competency to get them back. If not, the summer transfer market could get a lot more interesting.
Photo: Flickr/El Renzo