FC Barcelona have appointed Ernesto Valverde as head coach of FC Barcelona following after Luis Enrique’s departure following their Copa del Rey victory.
A former Barca player, Valverde, 53, will be formally presented as head coach of the Catalan club tomorrow. He stepped down from his previous role at the helm of Athletic Bilbao last week after four years and having led Bilbao to seventh place in La Liga and Europa League qualification at the conclusion of the 16-17 season.
In his long and varied coaching resume apart from Athletic, Valverde had previously managed La Liga clubs such as Villarreal, Valencia and Barca’s city rivals Espanyol and also two years in the Greece League with Olympiakos.
As a player, Valverde also had a two-year spell as a 24-year-old player in Camp Nou during the late 1980s and will now return to the ground after 27 years. However, he spent much both seasons then sidelined through injury, scoring 8 goals out of 22 matches.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, the President of FC Barcelona believed that the appointment of Valverde was a good direction for his club, a confidence shared by the late Johan Cryuff.
“Valverde has the ability, the judgment, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes the youth players and he has a Barça way,” Bartomeu said. “He is a hard worker and he is a fan of using technology in training and in managing matches.”
“Ernesto is a very hard worker. He has knowledge, experience and has a philosophy similar to ours. He works a lot, he likes using technology.”
Valverde’s appointment comes at a trying time for Barca. While they have won the aforementioned Copa Del Rey, they were unable to progress past the quarterfinals of the Champions League and conceded the La Liga title to bitter rivals Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, before his departure at the end of his 3-year contract, Luis Enrique’s tenure had tenure yielded nine trophies, including a third successive Copa del Rey as Barca beat Alaves 3-1 at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday night. Although he had won the treble with Barca in his first season there as coach, his management was given much criticism as Barca’s defensive flaws were blatantly exposed this season.