Ernesto Valverde will take over from Luis Enrique to try to revive Barcelona’s fortunes after confirmation on Monday that he has signed a two-year deal.
“Valverde has the ability, the judgement, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes the youth players and he has a Barca way,” said club president Josep Maria Bartomeu , adding that Valverde would be presented to the fans on Thursday.
Valverde, 53, a former Barca player who departed Athletic Bilbao after four years last week, replaces Enrique and has the task of getting the best from world-class stars such as Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Luis Enrique ended his three-year reign in muted fashion with a ninth trophy in Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Deportivo Alaves after failing to beat rivals Real Madrid to the title.
However, the pressure at the Camp Nou forced an announcement back in March that he would be leaving at the end of the season, well before conceding defeat in the title race and the Champions League.
Not widely known outside of Spain, Valverde has a fantastic wealth of experience that has seen him pass the 500 games mark in charge of clubs in Spain and abroad.
His only playing honours came at Barcelona whilst Johann Cruyff was in charge between 1988 and 1990 where he won both the Cup Winners’ Cup and the Spanish King’s Cup.
Valverde, having consistently got the best out of the resources he had at his disposal, as can be seen through coaching spells with Athletic, Olympiakos (where he won three Greek titles), Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia.
Strangely enough, it was his Athletic side that inflicted Enrique’s heaviest defeat as the Barca boss with a 4-0 demolition en-route to the Spanish Super Cup in 2015.
Valverde’s calm and composed nature is thought to have won over the board at Barcelona, opposing the fiery personality of Jorge Sampaoli who now looks to be in line for the Argentina national position.