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Meet the new boss

Barcelona officially announce Ernesto Valverde as their next manager

The former Athletic Bilbao boss will replace Luis Enrique in the Nou Camp hot seat next season

Barcelona have officially announced former Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde as their next head coach.

The 53-year-old has signed a two-year contract, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu saying: “A new era has started. This morning we decided our new manager. It is going to be Ernesto Valverde. He will be presented on Thursday.”

Valverde will replace the outgoing Luis Enrique, who announced in March he would be leaving the club at the end of the season.

Enrique ended his reign by winning the Copa del Rey final at the Vicente Calderon, which was his ninth trophy in three years as manager.

However, Barca have struggled at times this season, with bitter rivals Real Madrid getting the better of them in La Liga, while in the Champions League they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Juventus.

Luis Enrique left Barcelona on a high after winning the Copa del Rey

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Luis Enrique left Barcelona on a high after winning the Copa del Rey

Valverde has been the front-runner for the Barcelona job for some time, and stepped down as Bilbao boss last week amidst growing speculation.

The former Valencia and Olympiacos manager is thought to be a popular choice at Camp Nou, having spent two seasons at Barcelona as a player from 1988-1990.

The Spaniard lead Bilbao to seventh place in La Liga this season.

Valverde will now be looking ahead to a busy summer, with Barca set to make several high-profile signings after a difficult season.

Barca are reportedly in the market for a new right-back, along with a centre-back to provide competition for Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti.

A midfield dynamo will also be on Valverde’s summer wishlist, with Manchester United star Ander Herrera and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho potential targets.

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