Valverde: If Messi were Basque…

Athletic Bilbao Coach Ernesto Valverde has joked that if Lionel Messi were Basque, his club would sign him and win the Champions League.

The Leones boss today conducted a Press conference as he prepares to begin pre-season training with his team.

When asked whether he was interested in signing left-back Nacho Monreal from Arsenal, the 51-year-old delivered a witty response.

“I would love to have the best players in the world and if we discovered that Messi was from Arrigorriaga (a town in the Basque country), we could sign him and try to win the Champions League!” Valverde said, before adding: “The things I ask for at the club I will not reveal here.”

The former Valencia tactician also discussed his side’s prospects for the forthcoming season.

“Madrid and Barcelona are very far ahead, then Atletico, Valencia, Sevilla. Villareal stayed ahead of us and are signing quality.

“We want to be close, in and around the European places.”

Athletic finished last season seventh in La Liga, while they also reached the Copa Del Rey final where they were beaten by treble winners Barcelona.

Tags Messi Valverde