As reported earlier today by Allsoccerplanet, Barcelona have finally confirmed the appointment of Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde as their new manager on a two-year contract with the option of an extra season.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu announced the new appointment at a press conference on Monday two days after Luis Enrique, who won nine of a possible 13 trophies in three seasons, left the club.

Valverde, 53, who played 29 matches for Barcelona for two years, between 1998 and 2000 scoring eight goals as a striker and won the Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Cup, before signing for Bilbao where he spent six years, will be presented officially on Thursday.

Valverde follows in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova and Luis Enrique who all previously played for the club before taking over as first-team coach.

They all won the league in their first season and Valverde’s task is to put Barcelona back at the summit of Spanish football after Real Madrid’s title success this season.

Blaugrana chief Bartomeu said: “I have spoken to him today and he is very happy because this is a very special challenge for him. He has the capacity, the know-how and the experience to do this job.

“He has a style of working that fits our club, he loves using the youth system and he is also passionate about new technologies and their application to matches.”

Meanwhile, Jon Aspiazu will be Valverde’s assistant. He joins from Bilbao as does fitness coach Jose Antonio Pozanco after Enrique’s No 2 Juan Carlos Unzue moved to take over at La Liga rivals Celta Vigo.

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