FC Barcelona hires former player Ernesto Valverde as its coach Monday May 29,2017
Barcelona picked one of its own to improve its winning ways. Former player Ernesto Valverde was hired as the new coach, the club confirmed on Monday May 29,2017
The longtime Athletic Bilbao manager will replace Luis Enrique, who ended his three-year stint after winning the Copa del Rey on Saturday. Mr. Valverde received a two-year contract, with an option for a third. The expected announcement was made by Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu after a club board meeting. Valverde’s official introduction will be on Thursday.
“I personally spoke to Valverde and he is very happy and excited about the thrilling challenge that is to coach Barcelona,” Bartomeu said.
A former forward, the 53-year-old Mr. Valverde played two seasons for Barcelona in the late 1980s and was coached by Johan Cruyff, the Dutch great who gave Barcelona its winning identity.
“Valverde has the ability, judgment, knowledge and experience. He loves football and has a style that is similar to Barca’s,” Mr. Bartomeu said. “He is a hard worker and is passionate about using technology in training and in match management.”
The calm-mannered Ernesto Valverde is known for an attacking style that should fit well with Barcelona. It was a style that helped Athletic play offensively and remain highly competitive, constantly fighting for qualification spots in European competitions. It finished seventh in the Spanish league.
Valverde led Athletic to victory over Barcelona in the final of the 2015 Spanish Super Cup, which marked the team’s first title in more than three decades. It won the first leg of that final 4-0 with an inspiring performance at its San Mames Stadium.
Luis Enrique left Barcelona this weekend after helping the club win nine titles out of a possible 13 in the three seasons he was with the Catalan club. He made the surprise announcement he would quit back in March, saying he needed to rest.
It was Barcelona’s worst season under Luis Enrique, despite winning two titles, the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey. It was eliminated by Juventus in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and lost the Spanish league to Real Madrid in the final round.