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Ernesto Valverde is now officially the FC Barcelona coach. The new man was presented as the Barça boss on Thursday in a series of events accompanied by president Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting vice president Jordi Mestre. The man who played for Barça between the years of 1988 and 1990 signed a two year contract with an option for a third.

FC Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernández explained that Valverde had been chosen for his “experience, but above all his knowledge.” He added: “We have had the fortune to see him in action and we know his way of working. He is a person who will know how to manage our dressing room.”

Valverde sat for the first time in the dugout at Camp Nou before heading to the 1899 Auditori for his first appearance before press from 80 different media organisations. The former Athletic Club Bilbao coach explained that “being at Barça will be biggest challenge of my career.”

“My predecessors have all been top quality like Luis Enrique, Tito Vilanova, Guardiola and Johan Cruyff. When I think of them I realise that this is the challenge I wanted,” he continued.

Valverde becomes the 57th coach in Barça’s history and he thanked the Club for the confident they have shown in him. “I am enormously grateful to the president and the Board for choosing me. It’s a great responsibility and I hope to be able to repay that confidence,” said the new boss.

The man who won the Greek league twice when in charge of Olympiacos admitted the “Barça style is known all over the world.” He continued: “My idea is to take it further, adapting myself to it and giving it a little tweak if possible. I will try to bring a passing style of play where we win the ball back quick with the team being, above all, balanced.”

Asked about Leo Messi, the new coach said: “I am lucky to be able to coach him and it will be a once in a lifetime experience. When you think that Messi has reached his peak, the next day he surprises you. I hope to enjoy his football and help him to improve, if that’s possible.”

Valverde did not go into possible changes to the first team squad in the summer but he did stress the importance of a fluid relationship with the B team and their coaching staff. Finally, on preseason he said: “We have a tour with three games against big teams and the idea is to be well prepared for the Super Cup clash with Real Madrid which is a trophy we want to win. We hope to win every competition we are in next season.”


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