New Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde ‘has a Barça way’

Former Athletic Bilbao manager had a two year spell as a Barcelona player in 1980s

Ernesto Valverde has been appointed as the new coach of FC Barcelona. Photograph: Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has been appointed as the new coach of FC Barcelona. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Barcelona have confirmed Ernesto Valverde as their new manager following Luis Enrique’s departure.

Valverde, 53, stepped down from his role in charge of Athletic Bilbao last week having led the Basque club to seventh place in La Liga and Europa League qualification.

He has also managed Villarreal, Valencia and Barça’s city rivals Espanyol in a varied coaching career that also included two years in Greece with Olympiakos. Valverde also had a two-year spell as a Barcelona player in the late 1980s and will now return to the Camp Nou after a 27-year absence.

Barcelona lifted the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 win against Alaves in Enrique’s final game in charge on Saturday, the ninth trophy of his three-year reign.

However the victory came at the end of a campaign which included disappointment in both La Liga and Europe, with the title going to Barça’s bitter rivals Real Madrid, who are also in the Champions League final on Saturday, aiming to retain the European Cup by beating Juventus.

Enrique had announced in March he would be leaving the club at the end of the season to take a one-year break from management.

The Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “Valverde has the ability, the judgment, the knowledge and the experience.

“He promotes the youth players and he has a Barça way. He is a hard worker and he is a fan of using technology in training and in managing matches.”

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