Enrique extends Barcelona contract

Barcelona, June 10 (IANS) FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique ended doubts about his future when he extended his contract with the club until the end of June 2017.

The football manager, who has led the Spanish club to the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble in his first season in-charge, originally signed a contract until the end of June 2016, reports Xinhua.

Nevertheless, the 42-year-old’s constant refusal to talk about his future, along with his admission after seeing his side win the Champions League final 3-1 against Juventus on Saturday that he didn’t know what he would be doing next campaign, had caused doubts over his future and provoked speculation that he could leave.

Those doubts were ended on Tuesday when Barcelona published a communique stating: “The club has signed an agreement with Luis Enrique until the end of 2017.”

The move is slightly surprising given that club president Josep Maria Bartomeu had said on Monday that although he would be delighted to see the coach continue, with elections for the club presidency due to be held this summer, any new contract would wait until the new president had been elected.

“We are very happy. After a year like the one we have lived through, with problems, but with a great final result, we are more excited than ever about coming back and winning titles. Everything that lies ahead is more than exciting,” said Enrique.

The coach’s new deal was Bartomeu’s last act before resigning to present himself as a candidate and it ends a week of frantic activity by the club, which also confirmed on Tuesday that defender Dani Alves, who would have been out of contract at the end of June, had agreed to a new deal until June 2017.

Meanwhile, defender Jordi Alba and forward Pedro Rodriguez have also recently signed new contracts while on Sunday night Barcelona confirmed the signing of Sevilla wingback Alex Vidal for around $20 million.

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