Ernesto Valverde is the frontrunner to replace Luis Enrique as Barcelona manager. Marco Bertorello / AFP
Ernesto Valverde is the frontrunner to replace Luis Enrique as Barcelona manager. Marco Bertorello / AFP

Ernesto Valverde, the favourite to be next Barcelona manager, leaves Athletic Bilbao



Ernesto Valverde will not be in charge of Athletic Bilbao next season, the Basque club announced on Tuesday, amid reports in Spain that he will become Barcelona’s next manager.

Valverde’s contract expires in June, like that of current Barcelona manager Luis Enrique, and most expect Valverde to replace Enrique, who in March announced he was leaving at the end of the season.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu will reveal the board’s decision over a new manager next Monday.

Former Barcelona player Valverde, 53, steered Athletic to eighth place in the Primera Liga this season, but has decided to call time on his second managerial stint at the San Mames.

Valverde has managed Bilbao since 2013, previously taking the reins between 2003 and 2005, before being appointed at Barcelona’s city rivals Espanyol (2006-08) as well as Olympiakos twice, Villarreal and Valencia.

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