Barcelona appoints Ernesto Valverde as new head coach

Updated 1816 GMT (0216 HKT) May 29, 2017

Ernesto Valverde pictured during his time as Athletic Bilbao manager.

Barcelona has appointed former Athletic Bilbao, Valencia and Espanyol boss Ernesto Valverde as its new head coach.

He had been widely expected to take over at Barca from the departing Luis Enrique.

The 53-year-old played for Barcelona as a striker, scoring eight goals in 22 appearances between 1988 and 1990 under the guidance of the legendary Johan Cruyff.

Valverde announced he would be leaving Athletic last week after four years in charge at the Basque club.

At a press conference, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the club had appointed Valverde for “many reasons.”

“Valverde has the ability, the judgment, the knowledge and the experience,” he said.

“He promotes the youth players and he has a Barca way. He has a philosophy that is similar to ours. He is a hard worker and he is a fan of using technology in training and in managing matches.”

Valverde will be officially unveiled before the media Thursday.