Ernesto Valverde returns for third spell at Athletic Club Bilbao


BILBAO, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Ernesto Valverde will be Athletic Club Bilbao's next coach after Jon Uriarte was elected as the new club president of the La Liga club on Friday.

The 47-year-old businessman beat two other candidates (Jon Barkala and Inaki Arechabaleta) after winning just over 46 percent of the votes cast by Athletic's club members, while Arechabaleta obtained 33.9 percent and Barkala at 18.11 percent.

Valverde, who has not worked since being harshly sacked by FC Barcelona in January 2020, on Wednesday had committed himself to return for a third spell at Athletic if either Uriarte or Barkala won the election.

Argentinean Marcelo Bielsa would have been the coach had Arechabaleta been elected. Bielsa had coached Athletic between 2011 and 2013 and gave an in-depth presentation of his vision of the club on Monday.

A former Athletic player, Valverde first led the club between 2003 and 2005, qualifying for the UEFA Cup on one occasion, while his second spell lasted for four years between 2013 and 2017, leading them to the Champions League in his first year back in charge and a place in the Europa League in the following three years.

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