Luis Enrique was a versatile player. He had the distinction of playing for both Real Madrid and Barcelona and scored more than 100 goals. He also played three World Cups (1994, 1998 and 2002) for Spain.
Now he is poised to return to the World Cup as a coach of Spain for the second time.
Enrique, 52, started his coaching career in 2008 with a three-year stint with Barcelona B. He followed it with a spell with the Serie A side AS Roma, before returning to Barcelona to guide the senior team to a La Liga-Copa del Rey-UEFA Champions League treble.
He joined the Spanish national team in July 2018, replacing Fernando Hierro. Enrique’s tenure started with an impressive 2-1 win over England in the Nations League.
But a year later, in the aftermath of Spain’s disappointing pre-quarterfinals exit in the Russia World Cup, he left the team in July 2019 only to join back four months later. In the Euro 2020, Spain did well to qualify for the semifinals but lost to eventual champion Italy in penalties.
The qualification to Qatar World Cup has largely been smooth, except for a 2-1 defeat to Switzerland at home.
Over the last four years, Enrique established his 4-3-3 formation where not always the renowned players play but those who suit his game plan. In his attacking style, Spain plays fast-paced football and creates a lot of pressure in its opponents’ halves. But the area of concern for him had been the defence, which he tried to fortify, bringing in fresh legs like Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte.
Placed in a tough group alongside Germany, Japan and Costa Rica, Enrique’s attacking style will face a litmus test in the World Cup.