Who is Ernesto Valverde? A closer look at the man in charge of Barcelona

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Ernesto Valverde

Date of birth: 9 February 1964
Nationality: Spanish
Playing career: Alavés, Sestao, Espanyol, Barcelona, Athletic Club, Mallorca
Coaching career: Athletic Club (twice), Espanyol, Olympiacos (twice), Villarreal, Valencia, Barcelona

• Known as ‘Txingurri’ – or worker ant – as a player, former striker Valverde scored 44 goals in 170 appearances over a six-year stay with Athletic, which included his only cap for Spain. Had previously helped Espanyol to a third-place Liga finish in 1987 and an appearance in the following season’s UEFA Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Bayer Leverkusen, before spending two years at Barcelona between 1988 and 1990, making 22 appearances.

• Began coaching career in Athletic’s youth ranks before stepping up to handle first-team affairs with the Basque club in 2003/04; guided the Leones to UEFA Cup qualification in his first term in charge. Valverde again found himself losing a UEFA Cup final on penalties in 2007 – this time as coach of Espanyol – with Liga rivals Sevilla emerging victorious in Glasgow.

• In his first season outside Spain, he steered Olympiacos to a Greek league and cup double in 2008/09 before signing a one-year deal with Villarreal in June 2009. Was sacked the following January with the Yellow Submarine in tenth.

• Rejoined Olympiacos in August 2010, lifting another championship at the end of his first campaign. Added a second domestic double the next year but then stood down, taking the Valencia helm in December 2012. Reappointed by Athletic in June 2013 and took them to fourth in the Liga in his first term back, winning the 2015 Spanish Super Cup with a 5-1 defeat of Barcelona – where he succeeded Luis Enrique as head coach in May 2017.

• Marked his first season in charge at the Camp Nou with a league and cup double, Barcelona lost only one La Liga fixture on the way to claiming the title.

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