Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted Luis Enrique will stay on next season despite the coach refusing to commit to the club after wrapping up a treble of titles on Saturday. Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Juventus in the Champions League final meant they became the first team to win their domestic league and Cup and Europe’s elite club competition in the same season on two occasions, repeating their feat from 2009.
Luis Enrique is coming to the end of the first year of a two-year contract but was clearly unhappy with the sacking of sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, the man who appointed him, in January. He fended off several questions about his future at a news conference after Saturday’s final, saying he was focused on celebrating the treble.
The uncertainty has been amplified by a looming presidential election and a new chief in place of Bartomeu might want to bring in his own man. Bartomeu told Spanish radio on Monday he would offer Luis Enrique a contract extension if re-elected. “There is no need to suffer, Luis Enrique will continue,” Bartomeu said. “His season has been 10 out of 10 and there is no reason to break the contract,” he added.
Barcelona also said they have reached an agreement with Sevilla for the transfer of Aleix Vidal. Vidal, who can play both right back and right winger, won’t be able to play for Barcelona until they complete their FIFA-imposed transfer ban in 2016.
The European champions say Vidal will sign a five-year contract after undergoing a medical exam on Monday. The 25-year-old Vidal played one season for Sevilla, helping it successfully defend their Europa League title. Vidal’s arrival may mean the departure of Dani Alves from the club. The Brazil right back finishes his contact at the end of this month. Meanwhile, thousands of Barcelona fans flocked to the city centre on Sunday to celebrate with their team a day after they won their fifth European Cup and completed a historic treble of titles.
Festivities ran through the night as thousands of Barcelona fans gathered near the city’s main square after the team’s 3-1 victory over Juventus. On their return from Berlin, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta carried the large, elephant-eared trophy down the steps from Barcelona’s chartered plane at El Prat airport.
Lionel Messi and the rest of Barcelona’s talented team were then whisked to an open-top bus, which paraded them through the Catalan capital.
The three trophies won this season sat on the top of the bus with the players and coaching staff, who ate pizza before setting off on the slow trip through the city under the late afternoon sun. They waved, took photos and shot confetti into the crowd lining the streets. The team then continued the party at the Camp Nou. The club said the 67,000 free tickets for the event were snatched up hours before the festivities began. “The truth is to be here again is something incredible,” Messi said to the crowd gathered at Camp Nou.
-Reuters & AP
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