Barcelona have confirmed Ernesto Valverde as their new coach and the 53-year-old has signed a two-year contract at the Camp Nou.
Barca have been on the lookout for a new manager following Luis Enrique’s announcement that he would leave the club at the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
A number of names were linked with the role, including Everton boss Ronald Koeman and new Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli, but the Catalan giants have now confirmed Valverde as the man to take the club forward.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “Valverde has the ability, the judgement, the knowledge and the experience.
He promotes the youth players and he has a Barca way. “He was not the only name on the table.
From the moment Luis Enrique said he was not going to continue, (technical secretary) Robert Fernandez began a search.”
Valverde has spent the last four seasons managing Athletic Bilbao, guiding the Basque club to Spanish Super Cup glory in 2015 after they beat Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate as well as a seventh-place finish in La Liga during his final season at the helm.
The former Spain international, who spent two years with Barca as a player between 1988 and 1990, will be officially presented as the club’s new coach on Thursday.
Valverde’s main job as manager will be to return Barca to the top of the La Liga standings following Real Madrid’s title triumph this term.
He will also be charged with mounting a serious challenge in the Champions League next season.