Barcelona have confirmed the appointment of former Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde as their new Coach on a two-year contract.
The decision was formalised at a board meeting on Monday afternoon, although Valverde was long considered the favourite to replace Luis Enrique.
“Today I have spoken personally with Valverde and he is happy and excited about the challenge of coaching Barca,” President Josep Maria Bartomeu said of the Basque at a Press conference.
“Valverde has the ability, the judgment, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes the youth players and he has a Barca way.”
The 53-year-old spent two years playing under Johan Cruyff at Camp Nou as a forward between 1988 and 1990, winning a Copa del Rey and Cup Winners’ Cup.
He began his coaching career with Athletic’s B team, before being promoted to the seniors in 2003 and guiding them to UEFA Cup qualification two years later.
Taking a sabbatical, Valverde returned at Barca’s city rivals Espanyol, leading the Catalans to the UEFA Cup Final in his first season.
Three Greek titles followed in two separate stints with Olympiakos, and forgettable spells at Villarreal and Valencia took him back to Athletic in 2013.
Valverde achieved European qualification in each of his four seasons at Los Leones, including the Champions League group stage in the first half of 2014-15.
His teams generally play in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 formation, exhibiting a high-pressing and possession-based style synonymous with that of the Blaugrana.
Valverde also has a track record of promoting young players, mainly due to Athletic’s Basque-only policy.