Luis Enrique has the best record of all time among Barcelona and Real Madrid managers
Will Enrique hold on to the top spot by the time he steps down at the end of the season?
When Luis Enrique eventually leaves Barcelona, he may do so as the club’s most successful manager ever when it comes to his managerial record. And judging by his current record so far, it seems almost unheard of to lose such a successful manager.
“I need to rest,” said Luis Enrique when he surprised and shocked everyone with his announcement to quit at the end of the season at the post-match press conference following Barcelona’s 6-1 demolition of Sporting Gijon. It was not just another win for the Catalan club but a win that had put the Spanish La Liga title race back in their hands.
“I will not be the coach of Barcelona next season,” he said. “It is a difficult, measured and well thought out decision, and I think I have to be loyal to what I think.”
It wasn’t the decision that came as a surprise but the timing of it that took everyone aback. Barcelona are still in with a shout at the league title and had reached the Copa del Rey final. Overcoming a 4-0 aggregate against Paris Saint-Germain looks unlikely but the jury has been out on Enrique’s position at the club.
The philosophy at the club had changed and the identity is no longer what it used to be. Tiki-taka and possession football has slowly given way to a more direct approach and not all the club’ s socios were happy with the way the club has been playing – success be damned. Reports even claimed that it was the players who got him ousted.
But Enrique is leaving on his own terms. What’s more, his record after he finishes his final game in May may even be the best among both Barcelona and Real Madrid managers.
Enrique has currently won a little over 76% of his games in charge of the Catalan club. It comes as no surprise, especially after he won the treble in his very first season when he took over from Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.
Barcelona managers lead the way
Among managers who have been at either club for at least one season in charge, the next best is the late Tito Vilanova who had taken over from Pep Guardiola. After winning 14 trophies in four seasons, including the sextuple in 2009, Guardiola’s departure saw his assistant coach Vilanova take over and win La Liga in spite of suffering from parotid gland cancer – an illness that forced him to step down.
Guardiola was another manager who had had enough of the pressure associated with the job and even took a year-long sabbatical to recover from the pressure of managing a club the size and stature of Barcelona. Of course, he is one manager who understands exactly what Enrique is going through after he made his decision to step down public.
“If he has decided that I understand him completely and of course I wish him the best,” Guardiola said of Enrique. “As a fan, from the membership of Barcelona, I say thank you for all he has done in three years at my club.”
Real Madrid have more managers in Top 10
Real Madrid’s most successful manager is Manuel Pellegrini who lasted only one season and managed to win 31 games in the league to finish with 96 points. However, even that was not enough to win the title as Barcelona finished with 99 points. Pellegrini was frustrated with the club’s Galacticos policy and was never really given the time to build a team.
“They sign the best players, but not the best players needed in a certain position. It's no good having an orchestra with the 10 best guitarists if I don't have a pianist.” – Pellegrini
Carlo Ancelotti was also another manager who was the victim of Florentino Perez’s impatience – so much so that Perez literally had no explanation for why the Italian manager was sacked. Ancelotti had given Real their elusive Decima and was still ousted the following season when Barcelona won the treble.
What made the decision to get rid of Ancelotti more ridiculous was the appointment of Rafa Benitez. The Spanish manager may have had links to the club but was doomed even before his first game and lasted only five months before Zinedine Zidane took over.
Zidane, who was Ancelotti’s assistant at the Bernabeu, has now cemented his place in the hot seat and has had a commendable record since taking over from Benitez. He won them the Champions League yet again in 2016 and is also hugely popular with the players compared to his predecessor.
Jose Mourinho, one of few managers who lasted four years, is seventh on the list with a win percentage of almost 72%. But he was a polarising figure and even caused a huge rift in the Spanish national team following a number of Clasicos that had a poisonous atmosphere about them due to his pure hatred for Barcelona – the club who overlooked him when they appointed Guardiola.
|#||MANAGER||CLUB||GAMES||WIN %||PTS / GAME|
|3||Manuel Pellegrini||Real Madrid||48||75.00||2.35|
|4||Carlo Ancelotti||Real Madrid||119||74.79||2.36|
|6||Zinedine Zidane||Real Madrid||68*||72.06||2.37|
|7||Jose Mourinho||Real Madrid||178||71.91||2.28|
|9||Manuel Fleitas||Real Madrid||33||69.7||2.21|
|10||Luis Carniglia||Real Madrid||81||69.13||2.22|