Luis Enrique is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against Pep Guardiola when the former Barcelona coach faces the Catalan giants for the first time in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Guardiola’s Bayern side will travel to Camp Nou for the first leg on May 6 before taking on the Liga leaders at the Allianz Arena six days later in what promises to be an enthralling tie.
The 44-year-old spent 11 years in the Barca first-team squad as a player, which included winning the European Cup in 1992, and is a former team-mate of Luis Enrique.
Guardiola returned to manage the club in 2008 and, in his first season, guided Barca to the treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, courtesy of a 2-0 final win over Manchester United in Rome.
Two years later Guardiola lifted the iconic trophy once more, and again it was United who were beaten, 3-1 at Wembley in a stunning display.
There will be no room for sentiment when the Bayern head coach attempts to deny his friend Luis Enrique a Champions League title in his first season in charge and the current Barca coach is looking forward to the challenge.
He said: “Bayern will be a special match. The first time I’ll face Guardiola, and him versus Barca.
“Pep is my friend. He’s the best coach, for the trophies he has won and for his way of playing.”
Luis Enrique was more eager to speak about Saturday’s Catalan derby against Espanyol, though, as his side strive to take another step closer to winning La Liga.
He said: “Only the Espanyol match exists. It’s a derby.
“Espanyol is always hostile territory, which I think actually favours us at this stage of La Liga.
“I think that La Liga will be very tight until the end. On each of the matchdays, everything will be at stake for us.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!