An important week for Ernesto Vavlerde is coming up as the FC Barcelona coach travels to two special stadiums for him: the Nuevo San Mamés of Athletic Club at 8.45pm CET on Saturday 28 October; and the Georgios Karaiskakis of Olympiacos at 8.45pm CET on Tuesday 31 October. These two grounds were his home for six and three seasons respectively where he holds “very good memories and a great respect for the people.”
“I am looking forward to it as it will be the first time I visit the two stadiums”, said Valverde in an interview with the Club’s outlets.
Aside from playing for Athletic Club, Ernesto Valverde learnt his trade as a coach with their youth teams. In the 2003/04 season, he stepped up to coach the first team and stayed for two seasons. After having coached Espanyol, Olympiacos and València, Valverde returned to San Mamés where he stayed from the 2013/14 campaign to the 2016/17 one.
“Every person has a team as a reference point and mine is Athletic,” said Valverde. He then added: “I was very happy as a player and as a coach. It isn’t easy, especially as a manager, as you are always focused on results but I managed to enjoy it as well.”
Valverde also had two stints in charge of Olympiacos. The first lasted a year in the 2008/09 season while the second spanned from 2010/11 to 2011/12. Barça’s coach said that “what I most remember was the affection of the Greek people, even though I don’t really know why.” He went on to state: “What I experienced there was something very special and for that reason it was one of the best decisions of my life.”