Catalan football giants FC Barcelona confirmed that former Athletic Club Bilbao head coach Ernesto Valverde has agreed on an initial two season contract as the successor to Luis Enrique, who leaves after nine trophies in three seasons in charge.
The appointment on Monday of the 53-year-old, who also played for Barcelona in the late 1980s, came less than a week after Valverde announced his departure from Athletic where he had spent the past four seasons, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Valverde will be presented on Thursday as FC Barcelona coach along with his assistant Jon Aspiazu and José Antonio Pozanco who will be the fitness coach,” the club posted on its website.
As well as leading Athletic in two separate spells, Valverde also had a successful term with Barcelona’s local rivals, Espanyol, as well as with Valencia and Villarreal.
He also coached Greek club, Olympiacos in two successful spells leading the Greek side to three league titles and two cups.
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu commented in the press conference to announce the new coach that “today I have spoken personally with Valverde and he is happy and excited about the challenge of coaching Barcelona”.
“Valverde has the ability, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes players from the youth teams and he has a style and a way of working like ours,” he said.
He has a philosophy of the game that is very Barcelona and he is a hard worker. Also, he is passionate about applying technology to both training and matches.”
Valverde is usually popular with his players and likes his side to pressure their rivals high up the pitch and play attractive attacking football.
He is also known for putting faith in young players, although it is also fair to say he has never had to deal with such a high-pressure dressing room as that Barcelona.
The Basque coach can expect to be thrown straight in the deep end in his new job as Barcelona’s first competitive games in the coming season with be the two leg Spanish Supercup which sees the Cup winners take on their eternal rivals and this season’s La Liga champions.