It’s almost 11.30 p.m., six days before the World Cup begins, and Spain coach Luis Enrique has an announcement to make: “Streamers of the world, get out of the way! I’m heading downhill and I’ve got no brakes!”
Not content with the size of the main task that faces him in Qatar — leading Spain to World Cup glory for the first time since 2010 — the coach has decided to take on another challenge: conquering Twitch.
The video livestreaming platform, founded a decade ago, is now more popular than ever with around 140 million monthly active users, including high-profile footballers such as Gerard Pique and Sergio Aguero.
In a video posted on Twitter and Instagram on Monday, Luis Enrique revealed that he plans to join them, starting in Qatar.
“I’m recording this video to announce that I’ve become a streamer,” he said. “Well, I’m not a streamer yet, this is a video. I haven’t started yet. But my idea is to stream during the time we’re in Qatar. We arrive in the early hours of [Friday] Nov. 18, so I think I’ll be able to start streaming that day.”
Un video para expresar una idea… pic.twitter.com/aCK4ghemHW
— LUISENRIQUE (@LUISENRIQUE21) November 14, 2022
Luis Enrique has had a difficult, confrontational relationship with the Spanish media at times — in particular those based in Madrid, ever since his controversial switch from Real Madrid to Barcelona as a player in 1996 — and while he’ll still take part in official news conferences in Qatar, streaming will allow him to speak directly to supporters of La Roja and anyone else who wants to watch.
“It’s an idea I think could be interesting, to establish a direct relationship with you the fans,” he said. “To establish a more direct relationship with no filters, more spontaneous, more natural. I think it could be interesting for everyone.”
Speaking in his video on Monday, though — recorded in what looked like a dimly-lit office, with a tactics whiteboard in the background — he admitted there’s plenty of work to be done.
“As you can see, I can only improve,” he said. “The lighting for this video is inadequate. My microphone is Third Division. And my face is what it is!”
In a subsequent tweet, Luis Enrique shared a link to his new Twitch channel — which, at the time of writing, had already amassed 58,000 followers even before his first live stream — and a new Instagram account, where he began posting photos last week.
A selfie posted on Instagram, early on Tuesday morning, was accompanied by the jovial caption “Day 2. The first of my staff to arrive at the gym… whether I do some training is another matter!”
It remains to be seen how Luis Enrique’s newfound passion for streaming will go down with his squad, many of whom are active on social media themselves.
“It’s a way of getting closer to people,” defender Hugo Guillamon — who, at 22, combines his career with Valencia and Spain with studying biomedical engineering at the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia — said in a news conference. “It’s growing a lot recently. It’s natural. I think people will like it.”
Whether Spain progress to the latter stages of the tournament — as they did at Euro 2020, reaching the semifinals — or crash out at the group stage, Luis Enrique’s Twitch streams should make for essential viewing.