Ernesto Valverde (2017-2020)
The man known as 'Txingurri' (little ant in Basque) returned to Barça 27 years later after his spell as a player between 1988 and 1990 and left with 4 trophies under his belt
Ernesto Valverde (9 February 1964, Viandar de la Vera, Cáceres) was presented as the new FC Barcelona coach on 1 June 2017 after leaving Athletic Club Bilbao where he coached the team in more matches than anyone else in its history.
After three seasons with Luis Enrique Martínez as coach, FC Barcelona decided to acquire the services of the a coach who is well known for his man management skills, his attacking style and his extensive experience.
Valverde began his coaching career in the youth system at Athletic Club, beginning in 1997/98 with the U16B side. He moved up through the coaching ranks at the Basque club and between 2003 and 2005 he enjoyed his first spell in charge of the first team.
After a sabbatical year, Valverde returned to coaching at Barcelona’s other club, Espanyol. He took the team to the final of the UEFA Cup on 2007 where they were beaten by fellow Spanish club Sevilla before departing in the summer of 2008.
Valverde went to coach other La Liga sides, Villarreal (2009/10) and Valencia (2012/13) as well as two separate spells at Greek club Olympiakos between 2008-09 and then 2010-2012 where he won the Greek league on no less than three occasions and the Greek Cup twice.
In 2013 he returned to Athletic Club for his final coaching job before joining the blaugranes. In each of his four seasons in charge he took the club into Europe and in 2016 he led the team to their first trophy in 31 years when they beat Barça in the Spanish Super Cup.
During his spell with the first team Ernesto Valverde coached FC Barcelona in a total of 163 matches, winning 108 (66.25%), 35 draws (21.47%) and 20 defeats (12.26%). During that time he has claimed four trophies as coach: two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup.
His best season came at Barça was his first when Valverde led the side to the league and Copa del Rey double. In the Spanish Super Cup Barça lost out to Real Madrid and in the Champions League there was an unexpected exit against AS Roma in the quarter finals.
After winning the Spanish Super Cup the coach also led the team's successful defence of their league title, clinching La Liga at Camp Nou against Levante. The end of the season brought disappointment with Barça losing against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League and also in the final of the Copa del Rey against Valencia.
On 13 January 2020, a few days after the Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat against Atlético Madrid, Ernesto Valverde and FC Barcelona reached an agreement for the rescission of the contract between the two parties with the team top of the table in La Liga and with a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
As a player, Valverde represented Barça between 1988 and 1990. In those seasons, Txingurri claimed the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the Copa del Rey under coach Johan Cruyff. Ernesto Valverde played 29 official games in total for Barça, scoring 10 goals.