Friday’s Forgotten Footballer: Luis Enrique

By Thomas Crean

Luis Enrique
Full Name: Luis Enrique Martínez García
Position: Midfielder/ Forward
Nationality: Spanish (62 caps, 12 goals)
Clubs: Sporting Gijón, Real Madrid, Barcelona.

Luis Enrique began his career with his home town club Sporting Gijón, hitting 14 goals in 36 appearances, before he caught the eye of giants Real Madrid two years later.

He spent five full seasons at the Bernabeu, before crossing one of the most uncrossable boundaries in world football, a free transfer to fierce rivals Barcelona.

The Spaniard scored 46 goals in his first three seasons in Catalonia, with Barca claiming the Spanish title in 1997-98 and 1998-99.

He amassed 62 international caps, scoring 12 goals. He played in three World Cups as well as Euro ’96. He was also part of the gold winning 1992 Olympic side.

One major moment in Enrique’s career actually took place at one of those World Cups. In 1994, it was reported that he lost up to a pint of blood following a blow from the elbow of Italian Mauro Tassotti, which went unpunished on the pitch. Italy ended up winning match.

Although Tassotti was banned for eight matches afterwards, the Spanish player still held the grudge in 2008 where he called for his home nation to “take revenge” on Italy.

Enrique retired in 2004, stating that he could not continue to the standards he set himself as a footballer. He has scored 102 goals in 400 league appearances.

He spent some time in Australia and participated in several marathons before taking up the Barcelona “B” job, following Pep Guardiola’s promotion to the senior side.

He stated his love for the club telling all “I have come home”, and “I finished playing here and now I will start coaching here.”

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