Having recently guided Valencia CF to a fifth-place finish in the Spanish Liga, experienced coach Ernesto Valverde has answered the call of one of his former sides, Athletic Club.
Article top media content
Athletic Club have reappointed former coach Ernesto Valverde after the 49-year-old agreed terms on a two-year deal to replace Marcelo Bielsa, who left the Basque side earlier this month.
Bielsa's departure came after a campaign in which Athletic Club finished 12th in the Liga and exited the UEFA Europa League in the group stage having reached the final of both that competition and the Copa del Rey under the Argentinian the season before.
An Athletic striker between 1990 and '96, Valverde scored 44 goals in 171 top-flight games for the Bilbao team; as a coach he led them to UEFA Cup qualification via a fifth-place Liga finish in the first of two terms in charge, 2003/04.
The former RCD Espanyol, FC Barcelona and RCD Mallorca player steered Valencia CF from 12th to fifth in the Liga as well as the UEFA Champions League's round of 16 after taking the Mestalla helm last December. However, he announced on 1 June he would not be continuing in the role.
Two earlier coaching stints with Olympiacos FC brought three Greek Super League titles – including two league and cup doubles – while Valverde suffered UEFA Cup final disappointment as Espanyol boss when his Periquitos side lost to Sevilla FC in Glasgow in 2007.