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Ernesto Valverde Takes The Reins At Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde Barcelona
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 21: Ernesto Valverde coach of Athletic Club Bilbao looks on before of the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao at Vicente Calderon stadium on May 21, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Patricio Realpe/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Barcelona have appointed Ernesto Valverde as their new manager.

Valverde has been the reported front-runner for the job for some time and last week he stepped down as Athletic Bilbao boss.

He replaces Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp, with the Spaniard calling time on his tenure after three years.

President Josep Bartomeu confirmed the appointment, stating:

“A new era has begun.”

Valverde, who has agreed a two-year deal with the option of a third, is due to be formally presented on Thursday.

The 53-year-old Valverde is a former Barcelona player, helping the club win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and Copa del Rey during two years at the Nou Camp under Johan Cruyff.

His managerial career has included spells at Espanyol, Olympiacos, Villarreal and Valencia.

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Barca have been searching for a new boss since Enrique announced in March that this would be his final season, and his last game in charge was Saturday’s Copa del Rey final victory over Alaves.

That was the ninth trophy Barça had won during the 47-year-old Enrique’s three years in the hotseat, which included league and cup doubles in 2015 and 2016.

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.

Barcelona were unable to make it a hat-trick of doubles this season as they finished runners-up in La Liga to Real Madrid, while in the Champions League they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Juventus.

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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