What a difference twelve months makes. A year ago at this time, Real Madrid were World Club Champions and Barcelona were struggling. Messi was on the bench and Luis Enrique was seemingly hanging onto his job by his fingernails.
But the Enrique was able to right the ship, he got Messi, Neymar and Suarez to play together and Barca ran the table, winning everything put in front of them.
Monday night in Zurich Luis Enrique got the recognition he deserved when he was named manager of the year. The Barcelona coach garnered 31,08 percent of the votes cast, ahead of Pep Guardiola (22.97 percent) and Jorge Sampaoli (9.47 percent). Enrique elected not to attend the event and Barça sporting director Robert Fernández picked up the award in his stead.
“He would have loved to be here,” Fernández said. “It is the moment to thank the people in the sport, the people who have voted for Luis because it has not been an easy task in view of the two other candidates. Congratulations Luis. Before I forget, because Luis will get angry if I do, this award is shared by all the people who have helped him and supported him, and it is a special award. For that reason I want to share it with the staff, the president and the board of directors, the fans and our players.”
Enrique succeeded Joachim Löw as the manager of the year, the Germany coach picking up the gong for 2014 on the back of a successful World Cup campaign and beating Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone to the accolade.
Guardiola is the most garlanded manager in the history of the event, with one win, one runners-up and twp third-place awards. Behind him is José Mourinho, with one of each.