Soccer News: Laporta doesn’t have my number – Luis Enrique is not interested in Barcelona’s return

    Luis Enrique has no interest in replacing Ronald Koeman at Barcelona while he is still under contract as Spain manager.

    Koeman is under increasing pressure at the Camp Nou following Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to Benfica, which makes Barca defeat streak the start of a Champions League campaign for the first time ever.

    The Catalan giants have now won just one of their last five games in all competitions before Saturday’s away match against reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.

    According to reports from Spain, the Barça bosses will consider replacing Koeman during their next international break should they suffer another defeat this weekend.

    Luis Enrique is said to be one of the club’s best choices to take over in the event of Koeman’s departure, but the former Blaugrana manager intends to serve the rest of his contract with Spain, which will expire after the World Cup in December 2022.

    Asked if Barcelona president Joan Laporta had contacted him about the position, Luis Enrique said: “I don’t think he has my phone number.

    “I am a coach here for the second time, and it is my habit to keep my word. I’ll be here until my contract expires, for sure.

    “Despite my proud history with that club, I don’t want to get involved in other people’s affairs.”

    Luis Enrique, who has won nine trophies in a highly successful three-year spell at the helm of Barca, spoke at a press conference Thursday after announcing Spain’s 23 squads for the upcoming Nations League finals.

    Spain will face Italy’s European champions in next Wednesday’s semi-final at San Siro, with the winners of that match facing Belgium or France in the final four days later.

    The high-profile match in Milan offers Roja the chance to take revenge after the defeat on penalties against Italy in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 just under three months ago.

    The Azzurri then beat England on penalties in the final and remained unbeaten in the three World Cup qualifiers since that Wembley triumph.

    Roberto Mancini’s men set a new all-time record of 37 unbeaten games in international men’s football with a 5-0 win over Lithuania earlier this month, surpassing Brazil’s previously set benchmark between 1993 and the 1996.

    “Italy is at its peak and deserved the champions at the European Championships,” Luis Enrique told reporters. “They have continued with that series ever since, but the day they will lose for the first time is near.

    “We were able to beat them in the tournament, but we didn’t. This game will require a lot of us because they are a top-notch team, which is where we want to be.

    “Whichever player I choose today, I hope it will be another spectacular match.”

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