Barcelona Hires Former Captain Luis Enrique to Coach Soccer Team

Barcelona hired former captain Luis Enrique Martinez to coach the Spanish soccer club after it ended the season without a major trophy for the first time since 2008.

Martinez, 44, replaces Argentinean Gerardo “Tata” Martino on a two-year contract, Barcelona said in an e-mailed news release late last night. Martino said he was leaving after Barcelona relinquished its La Liga title by failing to beat Atletico Madrid at home. The May 17 game ended 1-1.

Barcelona is turning to a coach familiar with the club after losing to Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final and being eliminated by Atletico in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Martinez, known by his first name Luis Enrique in Spain, joined Barcelona from Real Madrid in 1996 and played for the Catalan team for eight years.

He coached Barcelona’s “B” team from 2008-11 before spending a season coaching AS Roma in Italy. He resigned last week as manager of Celta de Vigo, which finished ninth of 20 teams in La Liga this season.

Barcelona simultaneously announced the signing of goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen from Borussia Moenchengladbach.

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