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Ernesto Valverde replaces Luis Enrique as Barca coach

Football Soccer Britain - Southampton v Athletic Bilbao - Pre Season Friendly - St Mary's Stadium - 16/17 - 7/8/16 Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Johannesburg [South Africa]: Barcelona have named Ernesto Valverde of Spain as their new coach for the 2017/18 season.

The 53-year-old-former Barca player was previously Athletic Club Bilbao coach. Last week he had decided that he would leave the club after four years in charge.

Valverde replaces Luis Enrique, who revealed in March that he would leave the club – who finished second in La Liga – at the end of his three-year contract.

He will be presented on Thursday as FC Barcelona coach along with his assistant Jon Aspiazu and former blaugrana Jose Antonio Pozanco who will be the fitness coach.

“Valverde has the ability, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes players from the youth teams and he has a style and a way of working like ours,” Sport24 quoted club president Josep Maria Bartomeu as saying.

“He has a philosophy of the game that is very Barca and he is a hard worker. Also, he is passionate about applying technology to both training and matches,” he added.

Bartomeu further said that Valverde was happy and excited about the challenge of coaching the Catalan giants.

This will be Ernesto Valverde’s second spell at the Club, his first coming as a player between 1988 and 1990. The new Barça coach won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the Copa del Rey in his two seasons as part of Johan Cruyff’s squad, playing 29 games and scoring 10 goals in official competition.

He has had two spells as coach at both Athletic Club Bilbao and Greek team Olympiacos as well as having coached at Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia.

In his career he has helped his teams to no less than six trophies, five with Olympiacos and one with Athletic Club.

“He has more experience than me. He should enjoy it,” Enrique had said when asked what advice he would give Valverde after a Lionel Messi-inspired 3-1 win over Alaves in his final game in charge. (ANI)