Barcelona have announced that Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde will take over at the Camp Nou next season. The 53-year-old Spaniard will replace Luis Enrique, who is stepping down.
After weeks of rumors, Barcelona have finally confirmed that Ernesto Valverde will take over as the club's new head coach. Valverde has signed a two-year deal with the Catalan giants and will take over from current coach Luis Enrique, who is leaving after three seasons in charge.
After a successful career as a striker in Spain, Valverde embarked on a management career which has seen him coach his former teams Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao as well as Valencia and Greek side Olympiacos.
"As a coach, [Valverde] has gathered a great deal of experience both in Spain and abroad," read an official statement from Barcelona. "In his career, he's won no fewer than six trophies, including five with Olympiacos and one with Athletic Club" - a reference to Bilbao's 2015 Spanish Supercup win.
Although less well known outside of Spain, Valverde will be a familiar name to Barcelona fans, having played 22 times for the club between 1988 and 1990 and winning the Cup Winners' Cup and the Copa del Rey under the late Johann Cruyff.
An exponent of Cruyff's footballing philosophy, Barcelona bosses hope he will help restore the club's famed possession game after Enrique, in an attempt to get the most out of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, favored a more counter-attacking style.
"Valverde has the ability, the judgement, the knowledge and the experience," said president Josep Maria Bartomeu, announcing the appointment. "He promotes the youth players and he knows the Barcelona way."
Ter Stegen signs contract extension
German goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen has also extended his contract, signing a deal which will keep him at the Camp Nou until 2022 and contains an eye-watering 180 million euro buy-out clause.
Barcelona won the Spanish Cup by beating Deportivo Alaves at the weekend but finished second in La Liga behind Real Madrid. After their famous comeback against Paris St-Germain, they were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals by Juventus.