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Barcelona coach Luis Enrique to quit at end of season

Following a 6-1 victory over Sporting Gijon, the Barcelona coach has announced his plan to step down. Enrique says he is tired and believes it is time for someone new to take over.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has announced he will leave the club at the end of the season.

Speaking at the post match press conference after his side beat Sporting Gijon 6-1 to keep the pressure La Liga leaders Real Madrid, Enrique said he was tired and that he felt it was time for someone new to take over.

Barcelona are well placed to win a third successive Liga crown under Enrique, but suffered a heavy defeat in the last 16 of the Champions League, losing 4-0 at Paris Saint-Germain on February 14.

Under Enrique, Barcelona won the league, cup and Champions League treble in his first season and followed that up with a domestic league and cup double in 2014-15.

"I will not be the coach of Barcelona next season," Enrique told the assembled media at Camp Nou stadium. "It is a difficult, measured and well thought out decision and I think I have to be loyal to what I think."

"I would like to thank the club for the confidence they have shown in me, it's been three unforgettable years.

"There are three exciting months ahead," Enrique added.

"We are in a difficult situation, especially in one competition, but with the help of everyone and if the stars align we can turn that game around. I will give my full dedication in these three months."

Like his former teammate Pep Guardiola, who stepped down after four glorious years in charge of Barca in 2012, Enrique highlighted the pressures of the top at the Camp Nou as his reason to step down.

"The reason is the way in which I live this profession. It means very few hours of rest."

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic said Enrique's decision left the Barca players shocked.

"The coach came into the dressing room and told us before the press conference," said Rakitic.

"We were all left a bit open-mouthed. We didn't know he was going to announce it today. He has all the support of the dressing room. We will do everything we can to do our best in the months to come," the Croatian added.

Enrique's contract was due to expire at the end of the season.

mds/rd (AFP)

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