Barcelona hire Ernesto Valverde to take over for Luis Enrique as manager

Barcelona hire Ernesto Valverde to take over for Luis Enrique as manager

Published May. 29, 2017 7:55 p.m. ET

Barcelona have tapped Ernesto Valverde to be their new manager. The Spaniard resigned as Athletic Bilbao boss last week, paving the way for him to take over at the Camp Nou.

Luis Enrique announced in March that he would leave Barcelona after the season, ending a three-year stint. Enrique's reign began with a treble and he won the domestic double last year, but the team sputtered down the stretch and never really found its stride this season. They won the Copa del Rey in Enrique's last match on Saturday, but never really looked like one of the best teams in the world, which brought the manager plenty of hear until he announced that he'd step down following the season.

Now Valverde will be charged with turning things around at the Camp Nou. He has Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, making for the best front line in the world, but there are questions behind that triumvirate. The midfield looked old at times last season and could be overrun, while the defense is hardly impenetrable.

Barcelona will have to make some smart buys this summer, but Valverde will also have to change the system to either hide some of the team's weaknesses or leverage the talents of any additions.

Valverde is no stranger to Barcelona, having played there from 1988-1990, but this will be his biggest managerial post by a long shot. He's managed Athletic Bilbao a couple times to go along with stints at Villarreal, Valencia, Espnayol and Olympiakos, but while he was considered a good coach, he was never wildly successful at any stop. That will put the pressure on him to prove himself early on, as if managing at Barcelona didn't come with enough pressure to begin with.


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