Ernesto Valverde returns to Athletic Bilbao for a third stint as manager
Ernesto Valverde has returned to Athletic Bilbao for a third term as head coach.
Valverde, 58, has been out of work since being sacked by Barcelona in January 2020.
He was appointed by Athletic six days after the election of new chairman Jon Uriarte, who had pledged to bring Valverde back to the club for his third term.
Another Athletic presidential candidate, Inaki Arechabaleta, had promised to bring back Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa for a second stint at San Mames.
However, Uriarte, who presented himself as the candidate for change, won the presidency with 46.7% of the vote, against 33.7% for Arechabaleta and 18.1% for Ricardo Barkala.
Former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino had also been linked with the vacancy, as Barkala’s favorite candidate, who finished last in the vote.
A former Athletic player, Valverde scored 50 goals in 188 appearances for the club from 1990 to 1996 and coached Barcelona between 2017 and 2020.
In two spells as Athletic manager, 2003-05 and 2013-17, he oversaw 306 games, more than anyone in the club’s history. He has delivered European qualification in each of his last four seasons, including a Champions League spot for the 2014-15 season.
Athletic are due to resume pre-season training on July 5. Pre-season friendlies against Borussia Mönchengladbach and Duisburg in Germany and Newcastle United at St James’ Park have already been arranged.
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