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Valverde officially confirmed as Athletic Bilbao’s coach

June 30, 2022 GMT
FILE - Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde sits on the bench prior the Spanish Super Cup semifinal soccer match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at King Abdullah stadium in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 9, 2020.  Bilbao's coach Ernesto Valverde is officially back as Athletic Bilbao’s coach. The Spanish club made the announcement five days after new president Jon Uriarte was elected and pledged to bring Valverde back for his third stint as the team’s coach. The 58-year-old Valverde has not coached since he was fired from Barcelona in January 2020. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
FILE - Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde sits on the bench prior the Spanish Super Cup semifinal soccer match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at King Abdullah stadium in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 9, 2020.  Bilbao's coach Ernesto Valverde is officially back as Athletic Bilbao’s coach. The Spanish club made the announcement five days after new president Jon Uriarte was elected and pledged to bring Valverde back for his third stint as the team’s coach. The 58-year-old Valverde has not coached since he was fired from Barcelona in January 2020. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
FILE - Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde sits on the bench prior the Spanish Super Cup semifinal soccer match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at King Abdullah stadium in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 9, 2020.  Bilbao's coach Ernesto Valverde is officially back as Athletic Bilbao’s coach. The Spanish club made the announcement five days after new president Jon Uriarte was elected and pledged to bring Valverde back for his third stint as the team’s coach. The 58-year-old Valverde has not coached since he was fired from Barcelona in January 2020. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
FILE - Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde sits on the bench prior the Spanish Super Cup semifinal soccer match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at King Abdullah stadium in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 9, 2020. Bilbao's coach Ernesto Valverde is officially back as Athletic Bilbao’s coach. The Spanish club made the announcement five days after new president Jon Uriarte was elected and pledged to bring Valverde back for his third stint as the team’s coach. The 58-year-old Valverde has not coached since he was fired from Barcelona in January 2020. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
FILE - Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde sits on the bench prior the Spanish Super Cup semifinal soccer match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at King Abdullah stadium in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 9, 2020. Bilbao's coach Ernesto Valverde is officially back as Athletic Bilbao’s coach. The Spanish club made the announcement five days after new president Jon Uriarte was elected and pledged to bring Valverde back for his third stint as the team’s coach. The 58-year-old Valverde has not coached since he was fired from Barcelona in January 2020. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

MADRID (AP) — Ernesto Valverde is officially back as Athletic Bilbao’s coach.

The Spanish club made the announcement on Thursday, five days after new president Jon Uriarte was elected and pledged to bring Valverde back for his third stint as coach.

Another candidate for Bilbao’s presidency, Iñaki Arechabaleta, promised to bring back Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa for a second stint at the club that fields only players from the northern Basque Country region bordering with France.

The 58-year-old Valverde has not coached since he was fired from Barcelona in January 2020. Barcelona let him go despite having won back-to-back Spanish leagues and the Copa del Rey, and with his team still leading the league.

A former player, Valverde coached Athletic to a club record 306 games in 2003-05 and 2013-17. He has also coached Valencia, Olympiakos, Villarreal and Espanyol.

Athletic finished in eighth place in the Spanish league last season, just outside the European qualification places.

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