DOHA, Qatar — Luis Enrique does not like cheese. He does like eggs. He actually, actually likes eggs. In truth, he eats 5 – 6 a day, every single day. And if you happen to assume that is bizarre, he thinks it is a lot worse that you just eat all these Petit Suisse. Do not put onions in his tortilla, he says; and in Spain, the place with or with out onions are a query of state, it is fairly a … properly … assertion. His favorite participant is David Villa. Or Ferran Torres, if solely as a result of his daughter’s going out with him — and sure, it was Luis Enrique who revealed that — however he should not go getting any concepts. If Torres is silly sufficient to have fun a purpose with a thumb in his mouth [to signal the arrival of a baby], he is out of the staff instantly, by no means to return.
In any case, why would Luis Enrique need to be a granddad when he is already the Mac Daddy? Properly, he was. Streaming on Twitch each evening at 8 p.m., sitting there in his massive gamer’s chair, 52 occurring 15, he was the best cat on the World Cup. Come to consider it, nearly the one factor he by no means instructed us was what he considered cats, despite the fact that they’re in every single place in Qatar. Though, really, we are able to in all probability guess that he is on the opposite aspect of that different nice divide: the appropriate aspect. As a result of when it was throughout, he mentioned he simply needed to get dwelling to his canine.
Alas, it was over too quickly.
He went out on his bike — there is a 65-kilometre-round route from Qatar College — and posted footage of himself shirtless. Which, if you happen to had a physique like that at his age — or any age — you may, too. He flew all the way down to coaching on his scooter every morning. He spent his penultimate evening smashing the clichés in all places, like some media delusion slayer. Talking of myths, he has talked about milkmaids and Pelayo, the Asturian warrior who, legend has it, began the reconquest of Spain from the Moors, starting at Covadonga, in 711. Ultimately, Spain had been conquered by Morocco.
Luis Enrique is a d—head. He says so himself. He was additionally a star. And now he’s out of a job.
Not even two days after Spain’s elimination from the World Cup, the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) confirmed it: their coach, whose contract was up, wouldn’t be persevering with within the position. The choice to succeed in this level had been his: he had turned down an extension a 12 months in the past once they thought he was sensible, when the RFEF had been determined for him to proceed and when even these outdoors who had been ready for him, able to get him, needed to put their knives away for a bit. The choice to not let him get previous this level was theirs.
And so after 4 years — interrupted by private tragedy, the dying of his nine-year-old daughter following a five-month battle with bone most cancers — Luis Enrique is now not the Spain supervisor. Nonetheless, at the least he can get again for the Asturias derby now, scheduled for the day earlier than the World Cup remaining. They could have wanted to constitution a fast flight again for Actual Oviedo vs. Sporting Gijon. Because it turned out, they did need to constitution a flight dwelling, but it surely was a technique. “I am very happy with my staff,” the coach mentioned on the best way out. He did not head again to the Catalan coast the place he lives; as an alternative, he stayed in Madrid, the place he was instructed it was over.
His tenure had completed in failure, which was inescapable. It may have been completely different, positive: with 10 seconds to go, Pablo Sarabia hit the submit. That might have taken them via. It had occurred once more, Marcos Llorente insisted: if it wasn’t for penalties, Spain would have been within the remaining of the Euros — and who is aware of what would have occurred then — and nonetheless on this World Cup. And but it was over. Luis Enrique himself had mentioned the shootout isn’t just a lottery, although the road is ok. Soccer is humorous: the staff that began the match scoring seven could not get one, not even from the penalty spot.
And that was type of a distillation of Spain beneath Luis Enrique: by some means at all times balanced someplace between being actually sensible, the perfect factor ever and being actually … properly, not. In the end, this was not World Cup: Spain performed out a thousand passes, solely not often touchdown a blow. A few of these acquainted flaws reappeared, which was bizarre as a result of he was imagined to be completely different; not simply tiki-taka, however one thing slightly extra like he’s: edgy, incisive, missing concern.
Alleged to be completely different? He completely is, even when out on the pitch it fell aside. There was a second within the media centre right here when a British journalist sat down and mentioned, “Mate, why is Luis Enrique so cool?” The response was inevitable: Go inform a number of the Spanish that. Lots of them had it in for Luis Enrique. They appeared to take umbrage at all the pieces and take him tremendously severely, seemingly unaware of how a lot he was messing with them. By the tip, a few of them appeared virtually pleased (?!) that Spain had misplaced, that he was gone. In a rustic that loves debate and divide, that too had turn out to be one, in fact.
Now each could possibly be proper, could not they? For some time, even those that mentioned they did not like him needed to admit he was good at this. However then this occurred. And this was, within the remaining evaluation, a nasty World Cup. You may return to the Euros and maybe say one thing related, if far much less clear minimize, regardless of reaching the semifinal: they’d solely simply gotten out the group, then received one recreation in extra-time and one other on penalties. However then they’d performed like that in opposition to Italy, even when they misplaced. Now they performed like this.
There are errors to confess, analyses available. There’s additionally one thing extra easy, extra profound, maybe: Spain have received simply three World Cup video games since being topped champions in 2010, none of them within the knockout rounds. Is that this simply their actuality, their degree?
And what does that say about Luis Enrique that for some time we puzzled in the event that they actually may win the World Cup? That he constructed a staff — and the large obsession was exactly that it was a staff, not only a number of gamers — that reached the Euros semifinal, the ultimate of the one Nations League, and the ultimate 4 of one other. That they put six previous Germany and Croatia, seven in opposition to Costa Rica. That with a era of gamers who weren’t that era of gamers, he did this.
Talking of generations, no matter else we are saying, the legacy is there even when, in some circumstances, their golf equipment had been much less positive. Alex Balde is nineteen; Ansu Fati is 20; Nico Williams is 20; Yeremy Pino is eighteen; Pedri turned 20 in Doha; Gavi is eighteen. Have a look at Spain’s squad and also you marvel what number of are on the very, very highest degree. You may think Gavi and Pedri, maybe? It was Luis Enrique who put Pedri in for the Euros at 18. It was Luis Enrique who performed Gavi in opposition to Italy, aged 17, with solely 374 senior minutes to his title, and obtained a efficiency like that. It was Luis Enrique who saved taking part in him till the remainder of the world mentioned, ‘Whoa, take a look at this child.”
“It is the youngsters who play who’re courageous, not me,” Luis Enrique mentioned. However he performed them, repeatedly.
When he put Gavi in, they thought he was mad. Really, he was proper.
And perhaps additionally a bit mad. You may see that nightly on his stream, a platform that lowered the strain on his gamers, upon which by some means he by no means actually put his foot in it — though one radio station manipulated recordings to attempt to make out that he had. As an alternative, he confirmed issues no coach has, turned a star of this competitors, perhaps the one coach that’s. A lot because the media whined that it wasn’t the appropriate place, in information conferences he did the identical, each certainly one of them a lesson, providing depth and evaluation and character.
There was loads of alternative to hearken to him. And if you happen to did, there was methodology in it, all proper. Not simply eggs and yoghurts and have intercourse, however haven’t got orgies. And sure, he mentioned that too, cackling away as he did so. He was convincing, even if you happen to did not agree. His gamers purchased into it: at instances, with all of the dedication to an concept, it sounded slightly like a sect. Even when — and there’s no getting away from this — when it got here all the way down to it, his staff wasn’t, not the best way it ought to have been.
Luis Enrique led, and he did it his approach. From the platform to the display screen to the walkie talkies and all the best way out the exit. It was wild for some time, and it will not be the identical anymore, that is for positive.