Coach Valverde leaves Athletic, will reportedly join Barca

Coach Valverde leaves Athletic, will reportedly join Barca

Ernesto Valverde has said he "cannot confirm" reports that he will become the next coach of Barcelona.

The Catalan giants face Alaves in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, and said yesterday that their new coach would not be officially confirmed until Monday.

The year 2016 saw Valverde take Athletic to their first trophy in 32 years when they beat Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate in the Spanish Supercup.

"I do have an agent, and there are clubs that are interested in me. Regarding Barcelona's supposed interest, I don't usually talk about other teams and I won't start doing so now". "We made a decision to communicate now so it wouldn't affect the team's progress, although I know it has the cost of speculation".

Valverde stepped down as Athletic Bilbao boss this week and had his farewell press conference with the Basque club on Wednesday.

Coach Valverde leaves Athletic, will reportedly join Barca

Valverde, who spent two seasons playing for Barca between 1988 and 1990, understands the interest in the next stage of his career and suggested a break from football remains a possibility.

"It is not the first time that I have had offers from big clubs", he added.

Valverde, 53, played for Barcelona from 1998-90 and has managed six different teams in Europe - Bilbao, Valencia, Olympiacos, Villarreal, Espanyol and Bilbao's B team.

Pique credited Valverde as having done a "great job" with Athletic. I have had a lot of doubts, but my work here is done.

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