Barcelona take on Athletic Club at Camp Nou on Sunday in what is shaping up to be the best game of the weekend in La Liga. There are a number of plotlines and narratives, one of which is Ernesto Valverde. Txingurri will return to Camp Nou for the first time since being sacked.
“Yes, I think it will be intense. They will be a difficult opponent, aggressive in recovery after loss, in high pressure… Valverde is more offensive than Marcelino. They will squeeze us. They work very well. I hold Valverde in great regard, for what he did here as well.”
Valverde was the last Barcelona manager to win a La Liga title and it was only recently that the Blaugrana finished a matchday top of La Liga for the first time since Valverde left. Xavi had more warm words for him later on in the press room.
“We highly value what he did, from within. Valverde seems to me to be a spectacular coach. Without being shrill, without showing a bad attitude, faultless. An example. His work was excellent.”
Although Valverde was not faultless while at Camp Nou, in hindsight it has become clear that he was not only enormously successful, but also dealing with a number of issues which have since proved too much for his successors.