Barcelona Announce Ernesto Valverde As New Coach Following Enrique’s Departure

 

Barcelona have confirmed former Athletic Bilbao manager, Ernesto Valverde as their new head coach.

Former Barca forward Valverde announced last week that he was leaving Athletic Bilbao after four years in charge.

He replaces Luis Enrique, who revealed in March that he would leave the club – who finished second in La Liga – at the end of his three-year contract.

Enrique led Barcelona to the treble in his first season, the domestic double last term and the Copa del Rey this year.

They beat Alaves 3-1 in Sunday’s final – his last match in charge.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu praised 53-year-old Valverde’s “ability, judgement, knowledge and experience”, adding: “He promotes young players and he plays the Barca way.”

Valverde, who was born in the Spanish region of Extremadura but raised in the Basque Country, started his playing career as a forward with local sides Alaves and Sestao, before spending two years with Espanyol.

He joined Barcelona in 1988, at the age of 24, and scored eight goals in 22 matches in two injury-hit seasons with the club.

From there he went to Athletic Bilbao, the club his career is most strongly linked with, scoring 44 goals in 170 matches over six years. He ended his playing career with one season at Mallorca. He was capped once for Spain, playing 19 minutes at the end of a Euro 92 qualifier against Iceland.

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