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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Enrique heading out of Roma

Luis Enrique will take a year away from football after confirming his departure as Roma coach on Saturday.

Enrique's exit was revealed by general director Franco Baldini on Friday following a disappointing Serie A campaign. The Giallorossi can finish no higher than seventh heading into Sunday's final match at Cesena, meaning they will not qualify for Europe.

Enrique revealed at a press conference that his first season in charge had left him drained and, while he admitted he might not have been given any offers for next season anyway, said he needed a year away from football.

"I've given everything this season. I don't think I'll be able to recover my energy over the summer - not the energy needed to motivate a group,'' he said. "I definitely won't be coaching next season, though I don't know if I'd even have had any offers.

"I'm a very passionate person and this has been a marvellous adventure. Tough, yes, and I used up all my energy trying to reach a target. But when we were three or four games away we came up short. I don't think the season has been a complete failure.''

Enrique still had a a year to run on his contract and while he chose to leave early, he said he enjoyed his time in the Italian capital.

"It's been a great pleasure to coach this team and not even in the darkest hour did I regret coming to this club. I've always had the utmost respect for the fans I've bumped into in the streets. I'm leaving because I feel very tired and drained.

"I've said from day one that I would never cling on to the job and when I realised that my presence might be a hindrance to the team I made my decision.''

The 42-year-old revealed part of his frustration had been his relationship with the Italian media and he offered one last parting shot following reports surrounding his exit.

"Nearly everything that's been written were lies. And we're still hearing them now,'' he said. "Today is my last pre-match press conference and I don't what to get angry.

"Two days ago I had a meeting with my players and all my coaching staff to explain what I thought and how I felt. It was a very nice moment - I chose to speak in Spanish so that I could get my true feelings across and my friend Claudio here did a fantastic translation for me, as always.

"That was a moment that will remain. My criticism concerns everything that came out in the papers afterwards, which I've only heard about because I don't read them.

"I wrote on a piece of paper - that I have here with me now [he holds it up] - everything I said to the players, and it was even recorded. I'm not going to show it to you, but I assure you it's very different to the things that appeared in the papers.''

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