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Barcelona coach Luis Enrique pays tribute to the late Bobby Robson

AFP

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique looks on during a friendly match against Recreativo Huelva at the Nuevo Colombino stadium in Huelva, on July 19, 2014Barcelona coach Luis Enrique looks on during a friendly match against Recreativo Huelva at the Nuevo Colombino stadium in Huelva, on July 19, 2014

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique looks on during a friendly match against Recreativo Huelva at the Nuevo Colombino stadium in Huelva, on July 19, 2014Barcelona coach Luis Enrique looks on during a friendly match against Recreativo Huelva at the Nuevo Colombino stadium in Huelva, on July 19, 2014

Barcelona's new head coach Luis Enrique paid tribute to his former mentor Bobby Robson on Thursday, on the fifth anniversary of the former England manager's death.

"As a manager, he had very clear ideas, with an attacking concept of play and an easy and clear philosophy," Enrique, whose side are training at St George's Park in central England, told the Football Association website.

"His natural way of doing things, being very spontaneous, being capable of managing a group, being able to adapt himself to the high expectations of a big team with different circumstances.

"I remember that at half-time he used to grab some plastic glasses to show us the tactics and movements he wanted to see. He was a very talented and easy-going person."

Robson died of lung cancer at the age of 76 in July 2009 after a managerial career that included spells with Ipswich Town, England, Porto, Barcelona and Newcastle United.

The affable former England player was in charge at Barcelona when Enrique was embarking on his Camp Nou career and the former Spain international has fond memories of the time they spent together.

"It was a year (1996-97) where we won three trophies: one Cup Winners' Cup, one King's Cup, one Spanish Super Cup," he said.

"It was a difficult season because it was the year after (Johan) Cruyff had left, and Barcelona decided to sign the services of Robson and his great experience. I think he reached the full expectations.

"I used to appreciate his words of praise, because it was my first year at Barcelona, a very important year for me, and I have to say, I always had a good relationship with him and he always had good things to say about me, and that's always nice."

The FA have marked the anniversary of Robson's passing with the Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day, including a grassroots event beside Ipswich's Portman Road stadium.

The organisation also presented a cheque worth £25,000 ($42,200, 31,500 euros) to Robson's widow, Elsie Robson, for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which has raised over £7 million to fund the fight against cancer.

"We've achieved far more than we ever expected," she said.

"He would be astonished to know what we've achieved and what we've done with the money. It unites people who are interested in football and affected by cancer. It unites them somehow across our region and beyond."

Date created : 2014-07-31