Despite a dramatic final-day survival push, Celta Vigo decided to part ways with Coach Abel Resino after just three and a half months in the job. Resino's replacement is a familiar face in La Liga – Luis Enrique
Remembered most fondly from his time playing for Barcelona and Spain, Enrique has carved out a burgeoning managerial career since retirement. His impressive work with Barcelona B – including promotion to the second tier of Spanish football for the first time in 11 years – landed him the task of rebuilding a Roma side and exporting the tiki-taka brand of football to Italy.
The challenge ultimately proved to be too much for the former midfielder, and after winning just 16 of his 38 games in charge, he handed in his resignation citing that he was 'tired and needed to recover'. After sitting out the entirety of the 2012/13 season, Enrique is back and will look to repair his reputation in Galicia.
“I’m delighted to be in Vigo. I think I’ve made the right choice coming here based on Celta’s philosophy, but there is no doubt that results are what count in football and there’s no room for romanticisms,” said Enrique. “I want this team to maintain the same values which have characterised it in recent years, and that is about playing good football.”
With the 43-year-old’s philosophy firmly steeped in the Catalan tradition, Celta fans can expect to see an attractive brand of football this season. Those Barcelona roots have come to the forefront very early on in Enrique's tenure, as three of his former B team protégés have joined him at Estadio Balaidos.
Central defender Andreu Fontas endured a difficult loan spell with Mallorca as the Islanders were relegated, but he will now reunite with Enrique in a bid to solidify the Celta defence. The 23-year-old found first team opportunities difficult to come by at Camp Nou and has wisely decided to seek regular football elsewhere with Marc Bartra now ahead of him in the Blaugrana pecking order.
Much like most Spanish clubs, Celta are strapped for cash. The €9.5m sale of star striker Iago Aspas to Liverpool gave them a timely financial boost, and also facilitated a move for Benfica forward Nolito – another player who enjoyed a fruitful stint with Barcelona B under Enrique. Additionally, midfielder Rafinha Alcantara – Thiago's brother – joins on loan for the season as Gerardo Martino’s men look to get the 20-year-old a taste of top level football.
The additions of players Enrique is familiar with should ease the immediate task at hand for the tactician, but the challenge is daunting – particularly without Aspas. Celta scored just 37 goals last season, and the striker accounted for 12 of those. Much hope will be placed on the shoulders of 29-year-old Brazilian Charles, whose 27 goals spearheaded Almeria's promotion to La Liga, and the €1m transfer fee could prove to be a bargain.
After a year out of a job, Enrique will have his work cut out to keep Celta afloat. With money tight and another relegation battle on the cards, he may find himself worn out again in 12 months’ time.