Football: Barcelona boss Luis Enrique enthralled by Denis Suarez magic show

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.PHOTO: REUTERS

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Luis Enrique heaped praise on Denis Suarez after the 23-year-old midfielder led Barcelona to a 5-2 blitz of Real Sociedad on Thursday, saying he could even emulate playmaker Andres Iniesta, who the coach likened to Harry Potter.

Suarez set Barca on the path to the King's Cup semi-finals with a cutting low finish and completed the 6-2 aggregate victory with a sweeping run past goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli after latching onto a pass from Lionel Messi.

The former Manchester City trainee has had to wait his turn in his first season back at the club after spells at Sevilla and Villarreal followed his impressive campaign with Barcelona B, who he joined in 2013 after an unhappy two years in England.

However, after a number of impressive displays this season, he has emerged as a realistic heir to captain and standard bearer Iniesta, Barca's most decorated player who is in the autumn of his career at 32.

"He could be, why not? Players have to evolve. He has to improve, but Iniesta is Harry Potter, he makes magic, and it's difficult to find another. But Denis is on the right path and I hope he can be it," Luis Enrique told reporters.

"Denis is one of the few players to leave Barca B and be able to return. That's because he takes great care of the ball but also works hard off it, which some players forget about.

"You have the ball for a minute or a minute and a half in the game, so if you don't do well without it, you have no chance at this level. Denis understands that and he's well loved by his team mates."

Suarez took six months to score his first goal for Barca but now has three in his last two games, his brace against Sociedad following his debut goal in Sunday's 4-0 win over Eibar.

"I am getting better," he said. "It's not easy to get in the best team in the world, but I hope I can keep on moving forward now."