Ernesto Valverde named as new Barcelona manager

The former Barcelona player was widely expected to take over after leaving Athletic Bilbao last week

Ernesto Valverde has been named as Barcelona's new manager after days of speculation linking him with the position.

He succeeds Luis Enrique who said in March that he would be stepping down at the end of the season. Enrique has come to the end of his three-year contract and finished on a high after guiding Barcelona to victory in the Copa del Rey.

Former Barca forward Valverde announced last week that he was leaving Athletic after four years in charge. 

He will be presented on Thursday as Barcelona's new manager alongside his assistants Jon Aspiazu and José Antonio Pozanco.

"Today I have spoken personally with Valverde and he is happy and excited about the challenge of coaching Barça," said club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

He confirmed today that Valverde will sign for two seasons with an option for a third.

"Valverde has the ability, the judgement, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes the youth players and he has a Barça way.

"He is a hard worker and he is a fan of using technology in training and in managing matches."

As a player, Valverde was part of the Barcelona squad that won the European Cup Winners' Cup and the Copa del Rey between 1988 and 1990.

During his time as a manager, he worked with Espanyol, Olympiakos, Villarreal and Valencia, as well as his most recent club, Athletic Bilbao.