Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Barcelona opens new chapter with Ernesto Valverde, another Cruyff connection
by Mike Woitalla, July 13th, 2017 9:47PM
Subscribe to Soccer World Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  barcelona, international

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Woitalla

Barcelona, which started its preseason training on Wednesday, arrives in the USA next week for three games, beginning with a July 22 match against Juventus in New Jersey. That will be Barcelona’s first game with new coach Ernesto Valverde in charge. Who?

Indeed, Valverde isn’t well known outside of Spain, where he most recently coached Athletic Bilbao for four seasons after stints with Valencia, Villarreal and Espanyol, before starting out at Athletic Bilbao, where he had spent the bulk of his playing career.

And in Spain, “You will never hear a bad word said about Ernesto Valverde,” wrote longtime Spanish coach Pako Ayestaran in The Independent -- a refrain that is often heard about the 53-year-old who also coached Greece’s Olympiacos in 2010-12.

Barcelona appointed Valverde to replace Luis Enrique, who announced last March that his third season would be his last.

Valverde does have a Barcelona connection. His 14-year-playing career included two seasons at Camp Nou, arriving the same season Johan Cruyff became its coach.

"It was kind of a revolution, a lot of new players, and above all because Cruyff came," Valverde said. "It was a new way of playing. I remember it perfectly. It was the first step of everything that would come after."

Valverde got limited playing time, scoring eight goals in 22 La Liga games but was part of the Barcelona squad that won the 1989 UEFA Cup Winners Cup and 1990 Copa del Rey.

“I’ve always maintained relationships with people here,” said Valverde, who in 2015 guided Athletic Bilbao to its first trophy in 31 years with a 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona.

In 2014, he qualified Athletic Bilbao for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 16 years.

He coached Espanyol, La Liga’s other Barcelona-based club, to a runner-up finish in the 2007 UEFA Cup final. At Olimpiacos, he won three Greek league titles and two league cups.

Under Enrique, Barcelona won two La Liga titles and one Champions League title, but won neither last season. Valverde, who signed a two-year contract, will be expected to win at least one of them.

“I’d love to win both of them,” he said.

A Decade of Barcelona Coaches
2014-17 Luis Enrique: 2 La Liga, 1 Champions League, 3 Copa del Rey, 1 Club World Cup
2013-14 Gerardo Martino: no major titles
2012-13 Tito Vilanova: 1 La Liga
2008-2012 Pep Guardiola: 3 La Liga, 2 Champions League, 2 Copa del Rey, 2 Club World Cup

Veteran Barcelona defender Gerard Pique says winning isn't enough.

"Our philosophy is not only to win, but win playing well," Pique said. "We have players for that and it's what we try to do every game. This is a show, and people go to enjoy it. It's not about just winning 1-0 and playing defensively the whole game."

During his spell at Espanyol, Cruyff praised Valverde’s approach:

"His work is more than excellent. If you watch Espanyol play it's good to watch … trying to play in a way people can enjoy, because that's what soccer's for."

When Valencia hired Valverde, Cruyff said: "It's a great selection by Valencia. When he was a player he was very intelligent and he always showed me his interest in soccer and learning. He's one of the most outstanding and promising coaches in Spanish soccer."

Cruyff, who also coached Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, died last year. But his influence at Barcelona lives on.



3 comments
  1. David V
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 8:58 a.m.
    this article just proves that the USA soccer community, for the most part, continues to major on the minors... it knows EPL, it is ignorant of La Liga (LFP)
  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 11:12 a.m.
    Totally agree David! I loved Pique's comment also. US soccer fans and media throw around the term 'the beautiful game' but totally forget it when analyzing and evaluating actual teams, players, and games. How often have you heard an announcer or read a columnist refer to a 'beautiful' pass or move? This is why I love to listen to Ray Hutson. Despite his tendency for excess, he is one of the very few announcers who point out the beautiful and exceptional moves during the run of play -- even if a goal doesn't result.
  1. Fajkus Rules
    commented on: August 4, 2017 at 9:03 a.m.
    EPL has done a much better job of marketing itself in the USA, with most games available on FOX or NBC over the past 10 years or so. I have to go find BEin sport to get a La Liga game -- so who's fault is THAT!!

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Off The Post
Goalkeeper crushes player's face in Germany: Will this be the wakeup call?    
The hero of last weekend's Bundesliga action was Raymond Best, the doctor credited with saving the ...
L'Affaire Kurzawa: Another video blackmail scandal rocks French national team    
After the infamous "L'Affaire Sextape" that likely ended the French national team careers of Mathieu Valbuena ...
American owners still finding their feet at Swansea City    
More than a year after taking control of Premier League club Swansea City, owners Steve Kaplan ...
World Cup draw: FIFA rankings take on new importance    
FIFA's organizing committee for competitions has announced plans for the World Cup 2018 draw in Moscow ...
British parliament hears about FIFA's resistance to independent scrutiny    
How has FIFA changed since Sepp Blatter stepped down as president and Gianni Infantino was elected ...
Bayern Munich unrest after Lewandowski, Ribery and Mueller complain     
Those getting tired of Bayern Munich's Bundesliga dominance -- it has won the last five titles ...
Fancy Bears, Russia and the World Cup cybersecurity threat    
Cybersecurity has been an issue in our lives since the Internet took off in the mid-1990s. ...
Euro leagues ponder impact of EPL decision on shortened transfer window    
Premier League clubs have voted to close their transfer window prior to the start of the ...
American soccer's 13 unique applications    
I decided to write this article the moment I finished watching Costa Rica beat the USA, ...
More good news for Germany: The rise of Timo Werner    
Germany's odds of becoming the first repeat World Cup champion since Brazil in 1958/62 are looking ...
>> Off The Post Archives