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Athletic Bilbao confirm Valverde will leave club before new Barca boss is named

Date Posted,May 23, 2017

Ernesto Valverde is leaving Athletic Bilbao, the club have announced.

The move paves the way for the manager to be named the replacement for Luis Enrique at Barcelona, as many expect.

Valverde, a former Barca player, is believed to be the front-runner to take over at the Nou Camp when the news is revealed next Monday.

The chances of that being Valverde, a former Barca player, increased on Tuesday night with Athletic confirming the 53-year-old will not be in charge of the Basque outfit next season.

Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde has reportedly agreed a deal to take over at Barcelona (Photo: Getty Images)

A brief club statement read: “Ernesto Valverde will not continue as coach of the first team of Athletic Club in the 2017/18 campaign.

“The coach, accompanied by president Josu Urrutia, will hold a press conference on Wednesday, May 24 at 1200 (local time) at San Mames.”

El Correo reported over the weekend that Valverde had already signed a two-year deal to take over from Enrique on May 29.

The deal was apparently done, according to the publication, on Sunday morning and for Valverde will “fulfil one of his dreams after two previously-failed attempts”.

Luis Enrique is leaving Barcelona at the end of the season (Photo: Getty Images)

The 53-year-old knows all about the Catalan club, having played for the Spanish giants between 1988 and 1990.

He was a member of Johann Cruyff’s famous ‘dream team’ side and won a Copa Del Rey and a European Cup Winners’ Cup during his time at the Nou Camp.

Valverde has had a fair amount of success during his time at Bilbao, having led his team to Champions League qualification in his first season in 2013, as well as a Copa Del Rey triumph in 2015.

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez prepare for the match with Eibar (Photo: AFP)

Meanwhile outgoing Barca boss Luis Enrique will take charge of his final match at the Nou Camp on Sunday as Barcelona bid to win the La Liga title for the 25th time.

Enrique’s side host Eibar needing a win to stand any chance of lifting the trophy, with their fate balancing on whether Malaga can beat league leaders Real Madrid.

Barcelona currently sit three points behind Madrid with just one game to go, but with a better head-to-head record.

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