Greek champions Olympiacos FC are in the hunt for a new coach to lead them into next season's UEFA Champions League group stage after Ernesto Valverde announced his decision to step down this summer.
Valverde first took charge of Olympiacos in summer 2008 and masterminded a domestic double in his maiden campaign. After a solitary season at the Villarreal CF helm, the Spaniard returned to Piraeus and orchestrated successive league titles. Another domestic double beckons this term, with Atromitos FC to come in the Greek Cup final on 28 April.
"It's a tough day for me," Valverde, 48, told a media conference on Thursday. "A year ago, when I extended my contract, I told the president [Vangelis Marinakis] that it most likely would be my last season. We agreed not to announce anything, because the president thought he could make me change my mind.
"The main reason is purely personal. Plus, I have already led the team through three very demanding seasons. That has proved tiring. I want to thank our fans, who gave me unforgettable moments here and abroad, in Germany, in France and in London. I would also like to extend my thanks to people who do not support Olympiacos for always treating me with respect."
Marinakis said he will consult former Athletic Club and RCD Espanyol boss Valverde when looking for a replacement, a process he hopes will be completed by early June.
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