Manchester United’s next manager is still unknown, but Spaniard Ernesto Valverde is the favorite to become the interim boss.
Valverde’s last managerial assignment was in Barcelona and won La Liga twice in a row in the 2017-18, 2018-19 season as well as the Copa del Rey title.
With tons of experience, winning titles in two different countries and able to handle big names and star players, the 57-year-old also knows Cristiano Ronaldo well for managing teams against the Portuguese.
Here are five things you might not know about Spanish …
Let’s start with the basics. Valverde, like many other managers, was a professional player who was a successful striker.
He made his La Liga debut with club Espanyol in 1986 where he finished the season with 43 league appearances and scoring seven goals.
The Spaniard then moved to Barcelona for two years, winning the Copa de Rey and the European Cup Winners’ Cup before moving to Athletic Bilbao in 1990.
In total, Valverde has accumulated a total of 264 appearances and 68 goals in La Liga, adding 55 appearances and nine goals in the Segunda division – this man has a decent record.
FIRST MANAGERIAL SUCCESS
Valverde’s first real managerial success came in Greece with Olympiacos where an abundance of trophies came flying towards the Spaniard.
He had won three Greek Super League titles in 2008-09, 2010-11 and 2011-12, as well as the Greek Cup in the 2008-09 and 2011-12 seasons.
Following his incredible stint at Olympiacos, Valverde had no shortage of trophies as he thrived at Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona.
TWICE BEAT UTD MAN
Valverde has faced Manchester United twice as a manager and won both matches.
He was in charge against the Red Devils in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Champions League where Barcelona won 1-0 at Old Trafford and then 3-0 at Camp Nou.
LEGENDS OF COACHING
Valverde has had his fair share of mentoring and coaching footballing legends and has openly admitted he treats them like regular players.
The 57-year-old said: “Yes, I tried to do it, but I had the same relationship with him (Messi) as with the others, or similar.
“It’s obviously always a little different, because of what Leo meant for the club, what he meant for the rest of the squad, his rise along with the rest.
“He was a player to whom everyone passed, everyone often gave him a lot of responsibility and he accepted it.
“So you have to keep that in mind. “
It looks like Cristiano Ronaldo won’t get any special treatment.
FAN OF ART AND CULTURE
In addition to winning titles and dealing with top players, Valverde is an avid photographer, whose work has been published and exhibited.
After studying at the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya as a player, he prepared for a career as a photographer, but now continues to pursue his successful hobby throughout his life as a manager. .
Valverde’s artistry has also been recognized in the sports world. After leaving Olympiacos in 2012, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola suggested he was a fan.
Guardiola said: “Greece has lost a great coach and we have a great photographer back”.
Football and photography, by Ernesto Valverde https://t.co/5AVDNBIY17 pic.twitter.com/aGYPt1gmwZ
– Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) June 6, 2021