transfers | 2017-05-31
Valverde officially appointed as Barcelona's coach
The former Athletic Club Bilbao coach signs for two seasons with an option for a third
There are few more sought after jobs in professional sports than the head coach of La Liga's powerhouse Barcelona. The team has the talent and financial resources to rank among the best in the world but with that comes an atmosphere of intense pressure with demanding fans, management and media. With Luis Enrique leaving after three successful seasons at Camp Nou the new man in the ‘hot seat’ is former Valencia and Athletic Club Bilbao head coach Ernesto Valverde.
Valverde comes in with an initial two year deal with an option for a third to lead Barça after a four year stint at Bilbao. The 53 year old Spaniard played for Barcelona during the late 1980s and comes just a week after he announced that he would not be returning to coach the Basque club next season. Valverde will be joined at Camp Nou by his assistant coach Jon Aspiazu and fitness coach José Antonio Pozanco. Valverde was officially presented to the media as the new coach this Thursday.
Since his playing career ended Valverde has been a well traveled and successful head coach. In addition to two separate tenures at Bilbao he’s previously coached Barça’s local rival Espanyol along with La Liga sides Valencia and Villarreal. He’s also served two separate tenures as the sideline leader of Greek club Olympiacos during which the team won three league titles and two cups. If you are looking to bet on which trophies Barcelona will be winning next season and more, SportsBetting.ag has live betting odds for all european football games.
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu told the media that he’d spoken to Valverde on the occasion of his appointment and affirmed that the new coach is “happy and excited about the challenge of coaching Barcelona.” He praised Valverde for his “ability, knowledge and experience” and suggested that his philosophy was very similar to the ‘Barcelona way’. Bartomeu also gave Valverde high marks for his emphasis on developing rather than ‘purchasing’ talent. He concluded his comments about the new coach by commending his work ethic, technologically advanced approach to training and game management and his passion for the sport.
Valverde has a reputation as a popular coach among players and is known for a high intensity brand of football. The worldwide soccer media has been vocal in their approval of the hiring of Valverde, nicknamed ‘el Txingurri’ (a Basque term for ‘ant’ in reference to his smaller frame and tenacity as a player), though they’ve expressed the same concerns that they usually do when a powerhouse in the sport hires a new coach. It’s one thing to have the experience and acumen to coach football, another thing entirely to deal with the external pressures and expectations of success.
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WRITTEN BY: Rafael Hernández
A die hard Barcelona fan since the Joan Gaspart years, Rafael has seen the best and worst of his club. One of the Grup 14 founders, currently overlooking and coordinating the group's strategy. Rafael’s also a football journalist and entrepreneur.