Luis Enrique insists he is feeling “no sorrow” as he departs Barcelona after leading them to more silverware.
Barcelona won the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 win against Alaves in his final game in charge on Saturday evening, to ease the disappointment of finishing second in La Liga and going out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals.
But Luis Enrique, who announced in March he would be leaving the club at the end of the season, says he is departing with his head held high.
“No sadness at all, total joy,” he said after the game.
“Actually, it has been me who has decided that it is better to stop. It will be wonderful for me and I think for the players and the team too.
“The intensity of this job and the way I do it, with maximum thoroughness every day implies fatigue. But there is no sorrow, it is the opposite.
“If someone had told me when I got here that I would have the chance to help the team and be a part of nine titles out of 13 that we have played… well the figures are really good.
“Of course we would have liked of course to win the league again and be fighting for the Champions League. It could not be, but I think the fans have noticed the effort of the players and their sacrifice throughout the whole season.”
As has happened often throughout Enrique’s reign, Barcelona were boosted by a brilliant display from Lionel Messi, who scored and had an important assist in Saturday’s final.
The outgoing manager said the player was “from outer space” after the Argentina forward set Barcelona on their way with his 54th goal of the season, before superbly setting up Alcacer for the third.
“He is out of the ordinary,” Luis Enrique added.
“He is extraordinary, from outer space. Look at what he can do on the pitch, the way he overcomes the rest of the players, the superiority he generates for us in every action of the game where he participates, the way he leads the whole team.
“I have had the chance to enjoy the best Messi, or one of the best versions of himself, his peak, his highest efficiency.
“He is number one, there is no doubt. We say so and his performance proves so. It has been a pleasure.”