Football

Valverde to be unveiled as Enrique's successor at Barcelona

Barcelona are expected to confirm Ernesto Valverde as their new coach this morning (Singapore time) after club president Josep Maria Bartomeu called a press conference.

Bartomeu said after last Saturday's Copa del Rey final win over Alaves that there would be a board meeting this morning where he will "examine the options and announce who will be our next coach".

Valverde, who left Athletic Bilbao after four years in charge last week, has been lined up for the role since Luis Enrique announced that he would leave at the end of the season back in March.

The appointment of the 53-year-old will follow Barca's recent practice of hiring former players. Valverde won the Cup Winners' Cup and Copa del Rey in his two seasons at the Nou Camp from 1988 to 1990.

And he has bags of managerial experience in La Liga, having taken charge of Athletic in two spells, Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia, as well as two stints with Greek giants Olympiakos.

Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen yesterday tied his future to Barcelona by extending his contract with the Catalan giants to 2022.

Neymar, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic have all signed long-term deals in the past year, while Lionel Messi is expected to become the highest-paid player in the world with a bumper renewal in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pellegrino announced yesterday that he will not remain in charge of Alaves next season.

Alaves lost 3-1 to Barcelona in Pellegrino's last game in charge in the Copa del Rey final last Saturday. The Argentinian led Alaves to a ninth-placed finish in their first season back in La Liga for a decade. - AFP