After months of speculation on several Barça members’ future in the club, among those Ivan Rakitic and Ernesto Valverde, the former’s future has been announced by the club: he’s staying for at least another season – until that of 2019/20, and has an optional year in his contract for the 2020/21-season, one which has to be triggered by both club and manager.
Ernesto Valverde was – after months of speculations and negotiations – very happy with his renewal, and said that he felt comfortable at Barcelona, in the interview that was conducted after the renewal was announced.
- I feel very comfortable working here with the backing of the club, the sport directors, and also with the team, the players, Valverde began, before reflecting on what it means to manage Barcelona:
- In Barcelona, you always face challenges, starting with the upcoming matches. But all in all, the big challenge is that our club grows every day, that we continue to win, and that our people continue to enjoy what we bring, he said, and, excited, talked about the upcoming challenges:
- We have many challenges ahead of us, many games to win, many titles that we want to achieve, and the fact that the club thinks of me to continue the project is something that comforts me, and holds me responsible.
Valverde also said that he, upon extending, feels like he’s ‘living out a unique situation’, and that he’s thankful that the club values what he’s doing with the team, and also deems the challenge of continuing to manage the club a very exciting one:
“We all know the dimension of FC Barcelona, and everything that it generates. It’s an exciting challenge to be able to direct this club and these players. All of that is an incentive for me to continue, Valverde said.
Honestly, given the lack of available options on the market, and his improved management of the team, both as a team of footballers, but also as people, I think him staying – at least for now, is the right thing to do.
Quique Setien, who I’d very much like here, has only been at Real Betis for two seasons, and Sassuolo’s de Zerbi has only been with the Italians since the summer.
I can’t see either of those being willing to leave just yet, or being let go of by their clubs, so perhaps Valverde staying is for the better. He’s giving the youth players a chance, and Bartomeu did say that Valverde was very enthusiastic about giving minutes to the youth players. All in all, there are some interesting seasons ahead.
Valverde joined the club from Athletic Club Bilbao in 2016, after having had a successful spell with the Basque club, who are currently 13th in La Liga, and held Barcelona to a drew last weekend at the San Mamés.