Alba hails Spain coach Luis Enrique as 'best in the world'

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Jordi Alba labelled Luis Enrique as "the best coach in the world" as Spain aim for World Cup glory in Qatar.

Alba worked with Luis Enrique at Barcelona when he was in charge between 2014 and 2017 before the latter left and went on to become La Roja coach.

The former Real Madrid and Barca midfielder initially left his role in 2019 due to family reasons before returning in the same year, subsequently guiding Spain to the semi-finals of Euro 2020.

A second-place finish in the 2020-21 Nations League further added to the resume of Luis Enrique, who Alba feels is the right man to lead Spain in the Middle East at the World Cup, which starts next Sunday.

"I already know him from Barcelona. He is a direct person, who trusts the players a lot," the Barca left-back told Mundo Deportivo.

"For me, I have always said, he is the best coach in the world. Not only in the football field, but also in the human field.

"He is very close and helps all his team-mates and that is important for all the players and for me. He has a lot of personality. He captures his idea and that all the players go in the same direction.

"It is something very difficult and he has achieved it in all the teams he has been in. We all go to what he tells us. At that he is the best."

Alba, Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets all reportedly took a significant drop in wages to allay Barca's financial difficulties after Lionel Messi left in August 2021.

The Spain left-back reiterated his commitment to Barca as he outlined his plans to stay at Camp Nou amid reports he could leave at the end of his contract in 2024.

"As far as I am concerned, I feel qualified to continue here for many years," he added. "I think that when I'm playing I'm doing well and when I'm not playing I'll support my team-mates and try to help the younger ones as much as I can.

"I want to continue performing well. I've been here at Barcelona for many years and my intention is to stay here. Honestly, I didn't get any offer from that club, or from any other.

"I knew the opinion of the coach, who was counting on me. There has been talk for many years that I could go on loan or sign to another club. But my intention has always been to stay here.

"During these years I have worked hard for this club, then things will turn out for better or worse, but that will continue to be my intention until the end of the season and everything that remains on my contract."

Barca brought in the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde ahead of the 2022-23 term but were eliminated at the Champions League group stage for the second time in as many campaigns.

Xavi's side head into the World Cup break two points clear of Real Madrid at the LaLiga summit and Alba hopes to repay the faith of the Blaugrana faithful.

"This year we have not qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League and we are in the Europa League, but the people have continued with the players and that has been very important," he said.

"Now we have to try to return it in the form of titles. The deal with the fans has always been phenomenal."