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Valverde is a safe pair of hands, but is he good enough for Barcelona? logo 26-05-2017

Luis Enrique's reign as Barcelona coach is over. The former Spain midfielder went out on a high on Saturday by beating Alaves and claiming one final piece of silverware. Now, it is time for the Catalan club to look ahead to next season.

Barca appoint Valverde as manager

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Ernesto Valverde is the man who will take over at Camp Nou after he brought to an end his four-year spell at Athletic Club. So what can Barca expect from the 53-year-old coach?

As a player, Valverde began his career at Alaves and had a two-year spell at Camp Nou under Johan Cruyff. Barca are always keen to hire coaches in tune with their philosophy and in that respect, the Basque fits the bill — even if he featured sparingly during his time at he Catalan club.

As a coach, Valverde has had two spells at Athletic, two at Olympiacos and one each with Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia. Tactically astute, he has played a number of formations in his career, including 4-3-3, 3-5-2, 4-1-4-1 and, latterly, 4-2-3-1.

And before Valverde was formally announced Monday, Andres Iniesta added: "If it's him, he's prepared for the job. The teams he has been at, the general opinion is that they know what they are doing and they know how to play."

There is little doubt about that, but he has never coached a club of Barca's magnitude and, in that respect, the jury is out. Valverde took Espanyol to a UEFA Cup final and has won three league titles in Greece, while his record at Athletic is good. He is undoubtedly a safe pair of hands who should do well, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to revitalise a Barca team somewhat in decline over the past two seasons.

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