Barcelona makes a big choice of manager

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde renewed his contract with the club on Friday morning and he has stated that a large reason behind him doing so is the challenge that comes with leading the Blaugrana and their players. There had been a lot of speculation surrounding the 55-year-old’s future, but he and his players can now focus on the final stretch of the season, without being asked about Valverde’s future.

In a statement released on the club’s official website, Barca said of their boss: “Since his arrival as coach, Valverde has recorded some spectacular numbers only achieved by a select few. In his first season he won both the league title and the Copa del Rey and in 2018-19 he has already added the Spanish Super Cup to that list. “In total the coach has led FC Barcelona in 96 official matches, winning 65, drawing 22 and just nine defeats. Of those 65 victories, 43 have come in the league, 11 in the Copa del Rey, 10 in the Champions League and one in the Spanish Super Cup. “The Barca coach came within a whisker of leading the side to an undefeated 2017-18 La Liga season. Only a defeat late on in the campaign at Levante prevented the team from making history. The team also scored in 37 consecutive matches in the league, the run only coming to an end last Sunday against Athletic Club.

“In his 96 games as Barca coach Valverde has seen his team score 233 goals whilst only conceding 78 (45 clean sheets). “Leo Messi is top scorer in the Valverde era with 74 goals, followed by Luis Suarez on 47, Coutinho (18), Dembele (17), Paulinho and Pique (9) and Rakitic (8). With regards to assists, Leo Messi leads the way again with 32 then come Suarez (25), Jordi Alba (23), Sergi Roberto (13), Dembele (12) and Coutinho and Rakitic (11). “Luis Suarez is the player who has played most under Valverde with 7,026 minutes ahead of Pique (7,024), Ter Stegen (7,020) and Rakitic (6,986). Ivan Rakitic has most games with 89 followed by Sergio Busquets and Messi (83), Luis Suarez (82) and Pique (81).”

Valverde: “I find myself very comfortable working here, with the support of the club and also very comfortable with the players,” he said to Barcelona’s official media channels. “We know the size of our club, and it is an exciting challenge to lead this club and these players. “All this makes it more of an incentive to continue. “I am grateful because the club appreciates what I am doing; I am delighted with the situation.”

The deal will see him stay at the Camp Nou for the 2019/20 season, with an option for a further year. Barcelona vice president Jordi Mestre believes that Valverde is the right man to lead the club to more titles.

Valverde and Bartomeu during the signing of the contract.

“We believe that [Valverde] is a coach who brings a lot to us,” said Mestre. “With the titles he has achieved and the ones we hope he gets. “We believe that [the renewal] is a necessary step as it very useful for the stability that it gives us [in the present] and in the future, we hope.”

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