Ernesto Valverde has official signed his Barcelona contract and given his first ever press conference as Barca coach where he spoke on a range of topics and faced a massive 32 questions. Here are the highlights...
On taking the Barcelona job
I know that this is a very demanding position just walking around the musuem you feel the pressure. The bar is set very high because my predecessors were able to attain incredible results. I'm thinking Luis Enrique, Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova, Tata Martnio, and Johan Cruyff and all of those who have coached here.
I know that my job is demanding and I know the challenge I have before me. I knew that if I was going to another club I would like it to be a difficult challenge and this is the biggest, I have no doubt.
I also know all the previous coaches worked with the stamp of Barca, the style, that is recognised around the world and people know by seeing the style which team it corresponds too. I know I have to adapt but my idea is to go even deeper with this style and continue progressing.
I know we have a great team, great players beginning with Messi through Iniesta and everyone else.
But my idea as a coach is to help make them better players, we can improve as a team everyday and create a team spirit that drives us all, in the good moments and the bad and create that team spirit that can excite our people - that's what football is, to excite the fans throughout the world and of course get results - that's why we're here.
Valverde on Messi
I feel very lucky it will be a unique experience to coach a player like him, the best player I’ve ever seen on the field. I know Leo Messi seems that he has certain limits but he keeps surprising people and I hope to be able to enjoy him and help him as much as I can to keep going, if he can keep improving and surprising us and to enjoy the experience.
On Messi’s contract
No [I’m not worried] the information I have is that everyone is optimistic about this situation. In that way I hope Messi is happy here which is where he's always been and like everybody around me we are optimists and I am too.
On Iniesta’s future
It would be a little crazy if i talked about Iniesta before I speak to him personally but regardless he’s going to be a very important player for the team and the club from all perspectives and of course on the field. After I have spoken with him then I'll be able to speak about that [his future] in more depth.
On three El Clasicos to come
It’s a big deal. It’s a big motivation for me in the pre-season the Spanish Super Cup, it’s true we have a game with them in the US - but the Super Cup makes the pre-season game a little more special, it’s actually a trophy and we've going to try and win it and we’ll go with all the intention in the world to win it. These things illustrate the challenges we have before us and I like it.
On Barcelona B
We know that the players in the second team are very close to making it to the first team and our goal is to get those players competing at a higher level. The team moving up is good - it’s a more demanding competition but we don't know what’s going to happen yet. I hope to have a good relationship with them above all to see which players are evolving and which players are closest to making their debuts.
On playing style
It's clear that I have to adapt a lot to the style the club has, the team has and has had for a while and that has achieved a lot of results, it's a global model, the playing style here.
You have to adapt or keep the style that is well-established here but everyone has their own little personal stamp, their way of doing things. We'll see how that goes as time goes by.
When I talk about gaining depth and perspective I mean the way we are we can't stay static we need to keep progressing. If you're not going up you’re doing down and I want to go up. Over time we’ll see about the ideas I have and it’ll depend on how the team has done.
On his influences as a coach
In my career as a player I had great coaches: Cruyff, Irureta, Heynckes, Clemente. You always take something from each one.
On summer signings
Well I have just arrived here and it’s true that I have spoken with Robert just a while ago, I know the team but from a certain distance. If you're going to start asking me about signings I have to say come on - the market that Athletic has is not the same as Barca's, it’s a bit smaller. You look at the team, we’ll look at it and I trust the club and those that are here every day watching the players and based on their opinions we'll look at it. If you’re asking if Barca has a good team then I think so.
Valverde also spoke briefly about Sergio Roberto, Aleix Vidal and the goalkeepers without really giving much away but it was a calm and assured first outing from the new man.
What are your first impressions of Valverde - let us know your thoughts!