Last Updated: 29/05/17 7:37pm
Ernesto Valverde has been confirmed as the new head coach of Barcelona.
The 53-year-old former Barcelona player will replace Luis Enrique, who announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down at the end of the season.
Valverde, who had been in charge of Athletic Bilbao for the last four seasons, has signed a two-year deal.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “Valverde has the ability, the judgement, the knowledge and the experience.
“He promotes the youth players and he has a Barca way.
“He was not the only name on the table. From the moment Luis Enrique said he was not going to continue, (technical secretary) Robert Fernandez began a search.
“He spoke to a lot of people and studied the market. Many people took part in this decision and we did look at different names but our conclusion was one name and one coach. We know him, we know what he can do.
“Robert explained he was looking for a coach who had the Barcelona profile and knows the style. Ernesto is a very hard worker. He has knowledge, experience and has a philosophy similar to ours. He works a lot, he likes using technology.”
Valverde’s official introduction to fans and the media will be held on Thursday.
He previously played for Barcelona as a forward between 1988 and 1990 under Johan Cruyff.
Valverde began his coaching career with Athletic’s youth set-up and is the Basque club’s longest serving coach, overseeing 308 games over six years in two different spells.
As well as qualifying Athletic for Europe in five of his six years with the club, he ended a 31-year wait for a trophy by leading them to the 2015 Spanish Super Cup, beating Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate.
He also coached and played for Barca’s city rivals Espanyol, reaching the 2007 UEFA Cup final while in charge, where they lost to Sevilla on penalties, and he won three Greek league titles and two domestic cups with Olympiacos.
Enrique rounded off his three-year tenure at Barcelona on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Alaves in the Copa del Rey final, the ninth trophy he led the club to during a very successful tenure.
And Valverde will be thrown in at the deep end, with his first competitive game in charge scheduled to be against Barca’s arch-rivals and La Liga champions Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Nou Camp in August.