Barcelona appoint Ernesto Valverde as their new manager

Written by: Aveek Chakraborty
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Barcelona, May 30: Copa del Rey champions FC Barcelona have appointed former Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde as their new boss.

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Valverde will replace Luis Enrique after he announced in March that this would be his last season at Barcelona. Enrique's last game in control was Saturday's Copa del Rey final where they won 3-1 against Alaves.

Ernesto Valverde (Image courtesy: Barcelona Twitter handle)

That was the ninth trophy under Enrique in three seasons at the Catalan side which also includes one treble and the consecutive league titles in 2015 and 2016.

Valverde signed a two-year contract with Barcelona with an option of a further one-year extension. The official declaration was made by Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu after a club executive meeting and he confirmed that the 53-year-old will be unveiled as the manager on Thursday.

"Ernesto Valverde is the new coach of Barcelona. I have spoken personally with him this afternoon, telling him of our decision and he said he was very happy and looking forward to the challenge of coaching Barca," president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Monday.

"Valverde has the knowledge and experience we were looking for and he loves youth football. He has a special style and a philosophy which is similar to Barca's. He's a very hard worker, he coaches the way we like to coach. There are many reasons why we chose him.

"He will be presented on Thursday. [Sporting director] Robert Fernandez has been working hard over the last few months, it's demanding work [finding a new coach] and any questions you can ask him on Thursday at the presentation."

Valverde's backroom staff will include Jon Aspiazu with whom he has worked for 15 years and fitness coach Jose Antonio Pozanco.

There will be also further additions in the upcoming weeks after most of Luis Enrique's staff departed for Celta Vigo.

The Spanish manager has experience of managing Espanyol, Olympiacos, Villarreal and Valencia before Athletic Bilbao and has three domestic league titles in his name with Olympiacos.

Valverde also inspired Athletic Bilbao to win their first silverware in three decades after the Los Leones defeated Barcelona with a 5-1 to win the 2015 Spanish Super Cup.

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