Today, not long after their ignominious World Cup exit and the ignominious decision to fire their manager just days before the tournament kicked off, Spain have hired a new coach for the national team. Do you know his name? Lots of people who should know apparently don’t.
Headlines and opening paragraphs from publications around the globe are unanimous—and correct—in their reporting of the hire: the new coach of Spain’s national team is none other than former Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique. It’s once you read past the top layer of the reports, specifically the anglophone ones, that the errors start to pile up.
Here’s ESPN FC getting it wrong in just the third sentence of their report:
Enrique has been on a sabbatical since leaving Barcelona in May 2017 and was a reported target of Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in April.
Sky Sports has them beat, making the error in the second sentence of theirs:
The president of Spain’s football federation Luis Rubiales revealed in a press conference on Monday that the decision to hire Enrique was unanimous, saying the 48-year-old met all of the criteria.
The BBC delayed their mistake a little longer, not making it until the fourth sentence:
Enrique has been out of management since leaving the Nou Camp last June.
If you, like these prominent soccer publications, still don’t get it, allow me to spell it out: Luis Enrique’s name is Luis Enrique. His full name is Luis Enrique Martínez García, but he goes by Luis Enrique for short. Knowing his full name, and having an even cursory knowledge of Spanish naming customs, should make the problem clear. Which is that his name is not “Enrique.”
It’s pretty common in Spanish soccer for players to go by only their first name. The national team right now has a Nacho (full name José Ignacio Fernández Iglesias) and an Isco (full name Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez). Even more prominently, you have former Spanish players like Real Madrid legend, Raúl, and Barcelona legend, Xavi. Luis Enrique, dating back to his playing days at Sporting Gijón, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, also goes by only his first name. It’s just that Luis Enrique happens to have two first names.
Because of this, it’s always wrong to refer to Luis Enrique as just “Enrique.” Enrique isn’t his last name; it’s part of his compound first name. You’d never refer to a Jean-Luc just as “Luc,” nor would you call a Mary Lou “Lou.” Maybe some people with compound first names are okay with being called just their first given name, but not by only the second, and especially not when the second given name is confused for a last/family name.
And so Luis Enrique is always Luis Enrique. On first reference, on second reference—always. If saying or typing out Luis Enrique in its entirety every time is too taxing, then you could accurately call him Luis Enrique Martínez on first reference and then just “Martínez” from then on out. That would be a weird thing to do, but it wouldn’t be wrong. If you’d like to be brief, correct, and not weird, you could call him just “Lucho,” as that is his nickname.
To be fair, the “Enrique” thing is an eminently reasonable mistake—one I myself have made on this very website. But it’s also such an easy fix and, frankly, after such a high-profile playing and managerial career, it’s something that should have already become the standard.
Any conversation and/or written report about Spain’s new manager should probably include something about this looking like a good hire in light of the coach’s wildly successful tenure as Barcelona’s manager, and something about how that experience coupled with his long and decorated playing career that saw him don the shirts of both of Spain’s big clubs should help him navigate any potential Barça-Madrid fractiousness amongst the players. But what any discussion of Luis Enrique absolutely must include is constant use of “Luis Enrique,” never just “Enrique.” Got it? Good.
Update [4:05 p.m.]: Both the ESPN FC and the Sky Sports articles have been updated to correct Luis Enrique’s name. At this time, the BBC one still refers to him as “Enrique.”