BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has ended uncertainty over his future by agreeing a one-year contract extension with the Spanish and European champions until the end of the 2016-17 season.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu announced the agreement at a news conference on Tuesday assessing a season in which the Catalan giants won a treble of Champions League and domestic league and Cup titles in Luis Enrique’s first term in charge.
The former Barca and Spain midfielder, who was upset with the sacking of sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta in January, had refused to say whether he would stay on when quizzed about his future after Saturday’s 3-1 win over Juventus in the Champions League final.
Barca became the first team to win the treble in the same season on two occasions, repeating their feat from 2009.
“After a year like the one we have had, with difficulties but with a great end result, we are more than excited hoping to secure more titles,” Luis Enrique said on Barca’s website (www.fcbarcelona.es) after signing his new deal.
Bartomeu, flanked by the three trophies, also formally stepped down to allow him to stand in the forthcoming presidential election, which he called in January with the club in the midst of an institutional crisis.
Barca were due to hold the election in 2016 but Bartomeu decided to bring it forward by a year following the dismissal of Zubizarreta.
The former Barca and Spain goalkeeper, who was responsible for hiring Luis Enrique, paid the price for a FIFA ban on signings for two windows over a breach of rules on the transfer of foreign Under-18 players.
Bartomeu will be hoping some of Barca’s success this term rubs off, although he looks likely to face a challenge from former president Joan Laporta, who was in charge when Barca won their maiden treble in 2008-09.
Laporta, a lawyer and politician who fiercely supports Catalan independence, has strongly hinted he will stand but has yet to formally declare his candidacy.
Bartomeu stepped up to the top job from vice president in January 2014 after Laporta’s successor Sandro Rosell resigned amid allegations of tax fraud in the deal to sign Brazil forward Neymar.
Barca announced earlier on Tuesday that their Brazil right back Dani Alves had agreed a two-year contract extension with an option for a further year.
Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis