Top facts about Ernesto Valverde, The Ant

Sat 27 November 2021 | 14:30

Ernesto Valverde is best known for his spell as Barcelona manager, between 2017 and 2020, winning La Liga twice and a Copa del Rey. He was sacked midway through his third full season. Read on to find out more facts about Ernesto Valverde.

Ernesto Valverde

Tejedor (born 9 February 1964) is a former striker and current Spanish football manager.

Ernesto Valverde’s age

is 57.

Ernesto Valverde was a forward during his playing career and started at Alaves and Espanyol, but he also went on to make 20 appearances for Barcelona before settling down at Athletic Bilbao. It was there that he was given the nickname 'Txingurri' by Bilbao boss

Javier Clemente

, meaning 'The Ant', the name was awarded to Valverde due to his height and lack of physicality.

Valverde’s first real managerial success came in Greece with Olympiakos. He has also had separate managerial spells in charge of Valencia, Espanyol, Villarreal, and also Athletic Bilbao’s academy.

Valverde went on to have a long managerial career, including stints at all three teams. In 2008–09 and 2011–12, he won the double with Olympiacos, and in 2017–18 with Barcelona.

In 2012, he published a collection of black and white images, which were described by Basque poet Bernardo Atxaga as "at once delicate and tough, as if produced by two different hands."

Former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has reportedly been contacted by Manchester United about replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on an interim basis.

The 57-year-old has a good pedigree and would command the respect of the big-name players in the Old Trafford dressing room. However, United must not lose focus in their pursuit of the right long-term option.

Top facts about Ernesto Valverde:

The first

fact about Ernesto Valverde

is that he played 264 games and scored 68 goals in La Liga over 10 seasons, as well as 55 games and nine goals in the Segunda División. During his 14-year professional career, he played for six different clubs, including Espanyol, Barcelona, and Athletic Bilbao.

Ernesto Valverde early life

Valverde was born in the town of Viandar de la Vera, in the province of Cáceres, in the Spanish state of Extremadura.

Speaking about

Ernesto Valverde’s parents

, it should be mentioned that they moved to the Basque Country and settled in Vitoria. Regarding

Ernesto Valverde’s childhood

, it is worth mentioning that there, he began playing as a professional for Deportivo Alavés, coming from the quarry of CF San Ignacio, a club in his neighborhood.

Ernesto Valverde personal life

Valverde is an accomplished photographer who has had his work published and exhibited. He is the brother of Mikel Valverde, an important agent of Basque culture especially linked to the world of comics and who also has a close relationship with the musician Ruper Ordorika.

Valverde is a keen photographer, whose work has been published and exhibited. He has made his first steps in the world of photography and has even published photos of Ruper Ordorika and Bernardo Atxaga.

Ernesto Valverde professional career

Before becoming a manager, Ernesto Valverde was a forward who plied his trade in Spain. His career started at Alaves and Espanyol, but he also went on to make 20 appearances for Barcelona before settling down at

Athletic Bilbao


Perhaps the biggest compliment Valverde has received is from his former manager

Johan Cruyff


Having played under the legendary Dutchman at Barcelona, Cruyff stated that even as a player, Valverde "had an impact on all of us".

Before Valverde started coaching, Cruyff wrote of him, "He was intelligent and always expressed his interest to learn. As a coach he'll be one of the most promising."

Ernesto Valverde playing career

After making his professional debut with Deportivo Alavés and Sestao Sport Club in the Segunda División, – he was moved to RCD Espaol in 1986, making his La Liga debut against

Atlético Madrid

in a 1–1 away tie on August 31.

An important fact about Ernesto Valverde is that he made 43 league matches and scored seven goals in a season that featured a second stage; in his last year, he was a member of the team that lost the 1988 UEFA Cup on penalties to Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

FC Barcelona

Valverde then spent two years with FC Barcelona, when he won the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, although playing just 13 minutes in the latter competition against Lech Pozna.

He scored six goals in just 12 games in his second season, including braces in back-to-back victories against Sporting de Gijón (2–0) and


CF (2–1).

Athletic Bilbao

A notable

fact about Ernesto Valverde

is that he signed with Athletic Bilbao in 1990, despite the fact that he was raised in Extremadura (he moved to the Basque Country while still an infant).

RCD Mallorca

An important fact about Ernesto Valverde is that he spent six seasons with Athletic, scoring 20 league goals between 1992 and 1994 before having to move to RCD Mallorca, where he was comparatively used as the Balearic Islands team achieved top division promotion, and retiring the following summer at the age of 33; during his time at Athletic, he was nicknamed Txingurri.

Valverde only had one appearance for Spain, playing 20 minutes in a 2–1 UEFA Euro 1992 qualification victory against Iceland in Seville on October 10, 1990.

Ernesto Valverde coaching career

Valverde started his career as a manager in the youth divisions of previous club Athletic Bilbao shortly after retiring.

Four years later, he was elevated to co-trainer in the main squad, and in 2002, he took over the B side as head coach, before being promoted to first-team responsibilities the following year; they finished fifth and qualified for the UEFA Cup in 2003–04.


A notable fact about Ernesto Valverde is that he rejoined another old friend,


, after a year away from football. During his debut season, the Catalans reached another UEFA Cup final, this time losing on penalties to fellow Spaniards Sevilla FC, 19 years later.

Olympiacos FC

An important fact about Ernesto Valverde is that he was named coach of Super League Greece team Olympiacos FC on May 28, 2008, and in his first season, he won the title and added the cup to complete the double.

Despite his success, the club opted not to extend his contract on May 8, 2009, due to a financial dispute; nonetheless, the majority of the players and supporters were publicly in favor of his remaining.

Villarreal CF

Villarreal CF announced on June 2, 2009, that Valverde will take over for Manuel Pellegrini on a one-year contract after the Chilean departed for

Real Madrid


He was fired after a 0–2 home defeat to CA Osasuna on January 31, 2010, while the club was tenth in the league.


A notable fact about Ernesto Valverde is that he was appointed as the new coach of Olympiacos on August 7, 2010, replacing Ewald Lienen, who had only been in charge for a few weeks.

He guided Piraeus to the league title in his second term, as well as reaching the last eight of the domestic cup.

Valverde confirmed his intention to quit due to family reasons on April 19, 2012, after helping Olympiacos reclaim league dominance.


On 3 December, he returned to Spanish football by taking over at Valencia until the end of the season, replacing the fired Mauricio Pellegrino; his first game was a 1–0 victory over Osasuna five days later, and his second match, for the Spanish cup, was a 2–0 victory over the same opponent at the Reyno de Navarra.

Athletic Bilbao

An important fact about Ernesto Valverde is that he announced his departure from Valencia on June 1, 2013, shortly after the club's 4–3 away defeat to Sevilla, which meant Valencia could only finish fifth and so miss out on UEFA Champions League participation.

On the 20th, he returned to Athletic Bilbao, qualifying for the Champions League in his debut season and reaching the 2015 Spanish Cup final.

Valverde guided the Lions to their first title in 31 years following a 5–1 aggregate victory against Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana on August 17, 2015.

On May 23, 2017, he announced that he will be stepping down on June 30th, to be succeeded by José ngel Ziganda, a former Athletic colleague.

Valverde's 306 games in command of the squad across two periods established a club record, surpassing Javier Clemente's previous total of 289 games.

He also eclipsed Clemente's 211 league matches, ending with 228, but fell short of his record of victories: the latter won 141 games – 102 in the league – while the former ended up one short, with 140 and 101; he also sat on the bench for 42 European matches, a record.


Another notable

fact about Ernesto Valverde

is that he succeeded Luis Enrique as


manager on May 29, 2017. At the start of the season, he was defeated by Real Madrid, who won both legs of the Spanish Super Cup.

The team subsequently went on a 29-match undefeated streak in all competitions from 20 August 2017 to 17 January 2018, when they were defeated by Espanyol in the first leg of the Spanish Cup quarter-finals (also the club's first loss at the RCDE Stadium, their neighbors' home, since it opened in 2009).

They recovered to advance in that tie as part of a 15-match unbeaten run until losing 3–0 to A.S.


in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on 10 April, with the Italians progressing on the away goals rule.

Barcelona went 43 games without losing in the Spanish League until losing their last game of the season on 13 May 2018, after resting Lionel Messi for the trip to Levante UD, where they lost 5–4 against the hosts.

They won the league and the cup in the same season, beating Sevilla 5–0 in the Copa del Rey final.

An important fact about Ernesto Valverde is that he signed a new one-year contract extension in February 2019, as they proceeded on a 23-match undefeated run and won their second straight league championship in April after defeating Levante.

He took his club to their first Champions League semi-final in three years, winning 3–0 at home against Liverpool but was ousted in the second leg following an unexpected 0–4 loss at Anfield, prompting many to demand for his resignation. He also led the team to another Spanish Cup final, when they were defeated 2–1 by Valencia.

For the start of the 2019–20 season, Valverde remained in command. Despite the squad winning their Champions League group and being top of the league standings on goal difference by the new year, bad performances and a spell in December and January in which they only won one out of five matches put his job under threat once again.

He was fired by the club on January 13, 2020, following a 3–2 loss to Atlético Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana; he was replaced by former

Real Betis


Quique Setién

, and Barcelona finished the season without a title, finishing five points behind Real Madrid.

Ernesto Valverde legacy at Olympiacos

The Espanyol coach was set to finalize terms to take over at Olympiacos, a move that would subsequently modernize the Greek champions and revolutionize football in the Balkan nation.

"Life is full of coincidences, as I, Mr Chrysikopoulos, and Valverde were having dinner at a Barcelona restaurant the evening before Ernesto's definite 'yes' to the Olympiacos proposition," Ibaez told Sport24. "Rijkaard was right next to us, having a goodbye supper with his crew.

The following day, I realized that Rijkaard was bidding farewell to Barcelona and Ernesto was bidding farewell to Olympiacos at that restaurant."

Sokratis Kokkalis, the owner of the Olympiacos at the time, wanted to introduce it to his squad. "I feel Valverde is one of the greatest new managers in Spain," he said during the press conference after Valverde's formal introduction.

"He was a target for us because of the kind of football his sides played in Spain. We want Olympiacos to play contemporary, quick, and attractive football, and I am certain that he can do so."

Valverde was brought to Greece to take over for current Barcelona general manager Pep Segura, who had recently won the domestic double as the club's coach. To put things in perspective, Olympiacos was far from a team in crisis, yearning to turn the page and start again.

In reality, the team had won 11 of the previous 12 Greek league championships, as well as establishing a reputation as a Champions League contender.

Olympiacos had been a constant presence in the tournament since 1998, but that was about to come to an end.

Valverde made his official debut in the Champions League qualifications, when his club was humiliated by Anorthosis Famagusta. The Cypriot side defeated Erythrolefki (Red-Whites) 3-1 on aggregate, and although the club would proceed to the Europa League group stage, the supporters were dealt a huge blow and the new administration suffered an early setback.

Despite being eliminated, the squad came out of the gate well in the league, going unbeaten until the end of October. The players began to show signs of Valverde's style of play, and the new Olympiacos were scheduled to make their debut against


on November 27 at the Karaiskakis Stadium.

Valverde's side smashed a lineup that included David Luiz, Oscar Cardozo, Nuno Gomez, and José Antonio Reyes 5-1 in one of the finest first-half efforts in the club's history. And for a successful team like Olympiacos, that's quite a feat.

Valverde was providing Olympiacos supporters with their own hopes, centered upon a similar approach to the game and a new period of brilliance.

Olympiacos, a club that had always relied heavily on the individual talents of its superstars, was slowly transitioning into the contemporary age. Attacking from the back, putting pressure on their opponents, keeping possession, and moving with and without the ball were just a few of the ideas that the Spaniard offered to the spectators that November night.

Olympiacos went on to defeat Hertha 4-0 and go to the round of 32 of the Europa League, where they were eliminated by Saint-Étienne on a 5-2 aggregate basis.

Despite being eliminated from Europe, Valverde was successful in achieving the team's ultimate goal of capturing the domestic double. While Olympiacos won the Super League with just three losses, the club also advanced to the cup final, where they defeated AEK Athens on penalties in one of the most incredible matches in Greek football history.

With a domestic double under his belt, Valverde returned to Spain in search of a new challenge, before returning to Olympiacos a year later to discover a team that had reached its lowest.

They had finished sixth in the league and had started the 2010/11 season with an ugly exit from European play against Maccabi Tel Aviv while he was away. The supporters were apprehensive about the club's future when Evangelos Marinakis replaced legendary president Sokratis Kokkalis.

To survive the transition, the new owner required significant changes, thus Valverde was recruited once again to re-energize the club, quickly boosting the supporting base.

More significantly, he gained the admiration of Greek fans, leaving a praiseworthy legacy of a contemporary football model, which Olympiacos has attempted to emulate ever since.

After a 2-1 loss against Panathinaikos, Olympiacos' aggressive mentality was criticized for failing them down defensively, but Valverde remained convinced that the team's long-term success will be founded on attack.

"Olympiacos is a squad that is constantly trying to win, and we need to attack while still playing well in defense," he said. "We recognize the dangers of this sort of football, but this is our attitude, and we won't alter it because our supporters like it."

Take a look at Leonardo Jardim, Valverde's replacement on the bench, to get a sense of the magnitude of Valverde's effect. The Portuguese manager was fired eight months after taking over, despite being undefeated in Greece and reaching the Europa League round of 32, because the club was not playing attractive football.

Marina Tsali, Valverde's Olympiacos interpreter, described why the supporters adored the former Athletic Club coach years after he finished his second tenure at the club.

"You have to bear in mind that the Greeks adore LaLiga and the style of play of the Spanish clubs to understand why he's so popular here," she told MARCA. "Valverde was the first to suggest that style of football here, and everyone was ecstatic.

"He was adored above all because of how brilliantly his team performed under his leadership and for the trophies he won, while competitors admired him because he was always courteous of them and addressed everyone with humility."

Valverde is remembered by both spectators and players as the coach who modernized Olympiacos' style of play and revolutionized facets of the game in Greece. He was the one who exposed neutrals and partisans to Spain's cutting-edge, successful model, one that promised to have a long-term influence on youth development.

Ernesto Valverde UEFA Cup glory

The toughest test of their UEFA Cup journey thus far came in a quarter-final match against Portuguese powerhouse Benfica.

After knocking out Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round, their opponents had slipped out of the Champions League and were looking forward to a deep run in the tournament. Benfica had a considerably more experienced squad, especially on the European arena, with a slew of Portuguese internationals in its ranks, including Nuno Gomes, Simo, and the seasoned

Rui Costa


Espanyol was now not only in the final four, but they were also beginning to feel they had a realistic chance of winning the tournament.

Three of the semi-finalists were Spanish, with holders Sevilla up against Osasuna on the opposite side of the draw. In their biggest European match since that dreadful collapse against German opposition in the 1988 UEFA Cup final.

Espanyol had to deal with the suspensions of Francisco Chica, Luis Garca, and Zabaleta, all of whom had been booked in Lisbon, in the first leg. Despite beginning on the back foot and relying on Iraizoz's outstanding goalkeeping, Espanyol gained control of the match as Moisés Hurtado and Pandiani both scored from corner pieces either side of the interval.

Bremen remained a danger, with Brazilian playmaker Diego posing several issues, but when visiting goalie Tim Wiese was sent off for upending Tamudo outside his area not long after the second Espanyol goal, the Catalans saw a chance to go for broke.

When replacement Coro coolly tucked home from Riera's low cross in the 88th minute, their pressure and probing eventually paid off. It gave them a 3-0 first-leg victory, the same margin they had won in the final against


all those years ago.

Valverde had successfully duplicated his accomplishment as a player by guiding Espanyol to the UEFA Cup final, and they'd done it without losing a single match, despite a few nerve-wracking moments.

Valverde had shown why the likes of Cruyff had long predicted him to have a successful managerial career, and the club was one win away from their biggest accomplishment in their history.

After a 2-1 victory against Atlético Madrid and a great performance in an exciting 4-3 loss away to title-chasing Real Madrid, Espanyol went into the UEFA Cup final in excellent spirits. The encounter at the Bernabéu took place barely four days before the final, hence Espanyol had a weaker squad.

This, paired with their cordial connection with Los Blancos, implied that the match would be a walkover for Real Madrid as they attempted to beat Barcelona to the Spanish championship.

Pandiani, on the other hand, was never one to follow the script. Even though the Uruguayan had previously scored 11 UEFA Cup goals that season, essentially ensuring he'd finish as the competition's top scorer even before the final, he still failed to get into Valverde's best lineup, with long-serving Tamudo favoured.

Pandiani's inclusion in the squad at the Bernabéu signalled that he would lose out on a starting spot four days later at Hampden Park.

When Pandiani intended to make a point, he didn't spend any time doing it. Espanyol was 3-1 up with 33 minutes on the clock, and Pandiani had scored a hat-trick, to to the chagrin of the home supporters.

Valverde would take the striker out after an hour, and Real would go on to win 4-3 courtesy to a late Gonzalo Higuain goal, but it left the Espanyol coach with a major choice to make ahead of the all-Spanish UEFA Cup final against Sevilla.

Valverde ultimately opted to stick to his guns and leave a riled-up Pandiani on the bench, knowing that he would at the very least be a hazardous substitution. Espanyol began as clear underdogs against Juande Ramos' Sevilla, who were attempting to defend the title they had won emphatically against Middlesbrough a year before.

At the time of the final, Sevilla had had an excellent season and were just two points behind Real Madrid and Barcelona in the championship fight. They'd just defeated Espanyol 3-1 in a league match a few weeks before, but having lost 5-0 to the Catalans at the Estadi Olmpic Llus Companys the season before, they understood better than most how deadly a team they could be on any given day.

Sevilla began well, with nine starting from the previous season's final on the field and 50,000 fans packed into Hampden, but Espanyol rapidly settled into what would turn out to be one of the finest European finals in recent memory. Adriano slipped through the tackle of Espanyol full-back David Garca before hitting fiercely past Iraizoz on the 18th minute, slightly against the flow of play.

It was the first time Espanyol had faced a deficit in the tournament since the opening round against Artmedia Petralka, and they seemed shell-shocked for a short while.

With little under half an hour remaining, they found their own sucker punch when Riera cut inside from the left and fired a shot that glanced off Dani Alves and looped past Andrés Palop in the Sevilla goal.

The game became a back-and-forth affair, but as the second half started, Espanyol seemed to be on the verge of taking control. Following brilliant play from the ingenious de la Pea, Palop was forced to palm over Tamudo's shot. He denied Riera a sensational second goal shortly after, sending his thundering volley into the crossbar.

The pendulum swung back in Sevilla's favor just when you thought Valverde's players were looking the freshest and more threatening of the two teams. Moisés Hurtado of Espanyol was issued a second yellow card with little over 20 minutes remaining for a clumsy challenge on the newly-introduced Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

By this time, Pandiani had been added, leaving Valverde with little choice except to remove captain Tamudo and replace him with Jess Lacruz, a defensive player. Despite their numerical advantage, Sevilla failed to break through Espanyol's defense, with centre-backs Torrejón and Jarque putting up another good performance.

The game went into extra time with Sevilla's frustrations building as the rain in Glasgow added another layer to an enthralling final. They did, though, find a breakthrough in the closing minute of the first session. Frédéric Kanouté was left with a straightforward finish after finding some rare space in the Espanyol box thanks to a low pass in from replacement Jess Navas.

There were a couple more shocks to come on an eventful night. All of the enthusiasm and determination that had gotten Espanyol this far in the tournament insured that their ten players would not give up, and with five minutes still to play, they found a way to save their season.

Late replacement Jônatas collected a Pandiani lay-off and blasted a stinging drive from just beyond the box that glided off the slick Hampden grass and into the bottom corner, sending the Espanyol supporters gathering behind the goal into hysteria and forcing the final into a penalty shoot-out.

After battling for over an hour with ten men, it seemed that Espanyol's night had arrived, and that this would be the club's finest moment in its long and, in fact, largely uneventful history. Things swung back Sevilla's way when they scored their first penalty while Luis Garca was denied by Palop, as was the case throughout the game.

With the following spot-kick, Ivica Dragutinovi made it 2-0 Sevilla, before Pandiani stepped up to open Espanyol's account in the shoot-out.

Then came the next twist: Sevilla's athletic full-back

Dani Alves

blasted a goal high into the Glasgow sky, giving Espanyol the chance to draw level. In a sad twist of fate, Jônatas, the hero just minutes before, had his spot-kick saved by Palop, and after Antonio Puerta sent Iraizoz the wrong way, Espanyol's season was over.

A third Palop stop denied Torrejón, and after coming so close to success, Espanyol's UEFA Cup dream ended in the same manner as their first European final appearance 19 years earlier: three missed penalties and a shoot-out loss.

A decade has gone, and it's difficult to remember the 2007 UEFA Cup final without feeling a pang of regret.

The terrible deaths of Antonio Puerta and Dani Jarque, two young defenders on opposite teams in Glasgow, would shatter both their clubs and the greater Spanish football community.

Ernesto Valverde social media


Ernesto Valverde social media

, it should be mentioned that he does not have any pages on any social media platforms.

Ernesto Valverde body measurements

Speaking about

Ernesto Valverde body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the coach is 169 cm and 61 kg.

Ernesto Valverde net worth and salary

He has made money through his professional football career and now from his professional football coaching career. Contracts, wages, bonuses, and endorsements are all sources of money for him.

Ernesto Valverde’s net worth

as of 2021 is about €19 million.

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