OFFICIAL: Barcelona confirm Ernesto Valverde as new coach

The coach will be presented on Thursday

The moment we have all been waiting for has finally arrived as Josep Maria Bartomeu has officially confirmed that Ernesto Valverde will replace Luis Enrique as Barcelona coach.

Speaking at a press conference this evening following a board meeting Bartomeu says Valverde is excited about taking over and will be introduced on Thursday.

“I’ve spoken personally with him [Valverde] this afternoon and I told him of our decision,” he told a press conference.

“He said he’s excited, very happy and that it is a great challenge to come here and be coach of Barcelona.

“We know he has the ability, the judgement, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes the youth players and he has a Barça way.

“He has a special style that is similar to what we do at our club – and he has a philosphy that is similar to Barca’s.

“He is a hard worker and he is a fan of using technology in training and in managing matches.

“We look for excellence therefore we can’t say that last season was fully successful and we are not fully satisfied.

“I don’t think the players are satisfied with the season we’ve had either. The announcement today opens a new sporting step for the club.”

Welcome to Barcelona, Ernesto!

Ter Stegen signs new long-term Barcelona deal

The goalkeeper has committed his future to the club

Barcelona have confirmed they have agreed a new deal with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and he will officially sign his new contract on Tuesday.

The new deal will keep the Germany international at Camp Nou until June 2022 and contains a massive new buy-out clause which stands at €180 million.

Ter Stegen has become the club’s undisputed No.1 this season following the departure of Claudio Bravo to Manchester City and has enjoyed a strong season this time around.

The 25-year-old will also be in action this summer having already been named in Germany’s squad for the Confederations Cup.

With the season now over Barcelona look to be getting down to business quickly with the home kit having being unveiled this morning and Luis Enrique’s replacement expected to be announced later today.

The board meeting is already underway with a press conference due to start at around 19:00 local time.

Ernesto Valverde is expected to be announced as the club’s next manager having already stepped down from his post at Athletic Bilbao.

It’s also possibly we could get an update on Lionel Messi’s new contract with an extension believed to be close now.

It has definitely been a busy start to the week and it also promises to be a very interesting summer with Josep Maria Bartomeu have already pledged new signings.

“Every summer Barça have to strengthen and renew,” he said. “Players will go and there will be new signings,” he told TV3.

“Players will arrive which excite, others not so much. We are clear on the job we have to do this summer.”

Stay tuned!

OFFICIAL: Barcelona unveil new 2017/18 home kit

It’s finally here…

After months of leaks, Barcelona have officially unveiled their new home kit for 2017/18, the shirt sponsored by Japanese firm Rakuten for the very first time.

As we have already seen the shirt features stripes gradually decreasing in thickness with blue shorts with a red stripe and blue socks with a red strip down the calf.

The shirt also features the word “Força” on the inner right sleeve and “Barça” on the left while the collar has a Senyera design – the kit is available to buy on June 1.

What do we think Barca fans? Like the kit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

OFFICIAL: Barcelona unveil new 2017/18 home kit

It’s finally here…

After months of leaks, Barcelona have officially unveiled their new home kit for 2017/18, the shirt sponsored by Japanese firm Rakuten for the very first time.

As we have already seen the shirt features stripes gradually decreasing in thickness with blue shorts with a red stripe and blue socks with a red strip down the calf.

The shirt also features the word “Força” on the inner right sleeve and “Barça” on the left while the collar has a Senyera design – the kit is available to buy on June 1.

What do we think Barca fans? Like the kit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Juan Carlos Unzué leaves Barcelona for Celta

The club have confirmed another departure

Barcelona have confirmed that assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzué has left the club after agreeing a two-year deal to manage Celta Vigo.

The 50-year-old replaces Eduardo Berizzo at Balaidos after he stepped down from his post at the end of the season.

Unzue will take coach Robert Moreno, fitness coach Rafa Pol and psychologist Joaquin Valdé with him for his second spell at Celta having been an assistant there to Luis Enrique before following Lucho to Camp Nou in 2014.

Unzue had reportedly been in the running to replace Luis Enrique as manager of Barcelona earlier this season after Lucho had announced his decision to leave this summer.

However, it now appears Ernesto Valverde will be the next man to take over the Camp Nou hotseat with an announcement on that front expected tomorrow.

Valverde is also expected to bring in his own team so it’s little surprise to see Unzue head back to Celta, a club he knows well and it will be interesting to see how he fares next season.

Barcelona 3-1 Alavés, Copa del Rey Final 2017: Community Player Ratings

We rated the players on Lucho’s last Barca game in charge

Jasper Cillessen

Got away with one in the first half when Gomez’s shot beat him at his near post and rolled across the line but had no chance at all with the goal. Otherwise coped with everything else that was thrown at him.

Rating: 6

Community Rating: 6

Javier Mascherano

Was stretchered off after just nine minutes after an ugly clash of heads and it was a sad way for him to depart on what could possibly be his final ever Barcelona appearance.

Rating: n/a

Community Rating: 6

Gerard Piqué

A big mistake early on almost allowed Gomez to open the scoring but got away with it and was pretty solid afterwards.

Rating: 6.5

Community Rating: 7

Samuel Umtiti

Finished off a fine debut season at Barcelona with yet another accomplished display as he picked up his first Copa del Rey.

Rating: 7

Community Rating: 7

Jordi Alba

Looked good going forwards and, aside from poor pass to Cillessen, did little wrong defensively.

Rating: 6.5

Community Rating: 7

Sergio Busquets

Not at his best for Barcelona by all means but worked hard and was disciplined in the second half as Luis Enrique’s side claimed the victory.

Rating: 6

Community Rating: 7

Ivan Rakitić

Like Busquets it was a fairly subdued showing by the Croatian but he did enough against a spirited Alaves side.

Rating: 6

Community Rating: 7

Andrés Iniesta

A great display from Iniesta who showed flashes of his brilliant best and was frequently just too good for Alaves as, like Messi, he picked up his 30th Barcelona trophy.

Rating: 8

Community Rating: 8

Lionel Messi

Just brilliant – what else can you say? Took charge of the match with a superb first goal before having a hand in goals for Neymar and Paco. So much better than everyone else it’s unfair.

Rating: 9

Community Rating: 10

Paco Alcácer

Took his chance with Luis Suarez suspended and got his name on the scoresheet with a lovely finish. Also managed to jump out of the way of Messi’s ball in for Neymar when the Brazilian scored.

Rating: 7.5

Community Rating: 7

Neymar

Seems to save his best for the big games and did it again on Saturday night. Scored a final goal, looked brilliant on the ball whenever he had it but also put in a decent defensive shift as he signed off the season in style.

Rating: 8.5

Community Rating: 8

André Gomes

Replaced Javier Mascherano early on and played well in an unfamiliar position. Looked comfortable in possession, seemed far more confident with his passing and even helped set up Neymar for his goal.

Rating: 7.5

Community Rating: 7

Aleix Vidal

Given the last 10 minutes and it was brilliant to see him back in action.

Rating: n/a

Community Rating: 6

Luis Enrique

His final game in charge and it couldn’t have gone much better really. In many ways it was a typical Barca performance under Lucho: some strange selections, lots of goals, some defensive wobbles, but ultimately a victory and yet another trophy.

Rating: 8

Community Rating: 8

The Team

Took a while to get going against a committed and feisty Alaves side but once Messi took charge that was no stopping them and the two goals just before half-time killed the game. Lots of plus points with Vidal making his return after injury, and Gomes and Paco finishing tough first seasons well. And of course, the perfect send off for Lucho.

Rating: 9

Community Rating: 8

How the papers reacted to Barcelona’s Copa del Rey win over Alaves

Messi and Lucho are headline news after yet another trophy

Luis Enrique waved goodbye to Barcelona after overseeing a 3-1 Copa del Rey win over Alaves at the Vicente Calderon. Here’s what the newspapers in Spain made of it all…

Sport goes with a simple ‘Thank You’ to Luis Enrique after he picked up a ninth title as Barcelona boss
It’s Leo and Lucho’s Copa, write Mundo Deportivo, who note how Lionel Messi inspired Barca in a memorable first half that saw him score his 54th goal of the season
AS go with a similar headline, saying it’s Messi’s Copa after the Argentine scored the first and set up the other two for Barcelona
La Vanguardia goes with how it’s goodbye to Luis Enrique after another stunning display by Messi
Messi earns another Copa, say Marca, after he fired Barcelona to a 3-1 win

The best stats as Barcelona beat Alaves to win Copa del Rey

Yet another trophy for Barca at the Calderon

Barcelona gave Luis Enrique the perfect send off as they beat Alaves 3-1 at the Vicente Calderon to finish the season on a high and lift the Copa del Rey.

Here are the best stats from Saturday’s game….

  • Barcelona have now won all six of their one-legged finals with Luis Enrique as manager.
  • Lucho is the first manager to win three consecutive Spanish Cup titles since Ferdinand Daucik in 1953.
  • The Blaugrana have become the team to have won the most Copa del Rey finals at the Vicente Calderon, overtaking Real Madrid with three.
  • Lionel Messi made his 700th senior appearances against Alaves – that breaks down to 583 for Barca and 117 for Argentine.
  • Barcelona have never lost a final in which Lionel Messi has scored.
  • Neymar scored his 20th goal of the season against Alaves.
  • The Brazilian is the first player to score in three consecutive Copa del Rey finals since Ferenc Puskás (1962, 1961 and 1960). King.
  • Meanwhile, Lionel Messi is the first player to score in four different Copa finals since Telmo Zarra in 1950.
  • Lionel Messi has scored 54 goals for Barcelona this season in all competitions, more than all the Alaves players combined.
  • Saturday’s win is Barcelona’s 29th Copa del Rey – extending their record in the competition.
  • The victory is also Messi’s 30th trophy with Barcelona.

Barcelona vs. Alavés, Copa del Rey Final 2017: Match Review & Rate

Luis Enrique signs off with a win and yet another trophy

Barcelona signed off their season in fine style with a 3-1 win over Alaves in the final of the Copa del Rey in Luis Enrique’s final game as Barca coach.

Lionel Messi sent Barca on their way before Neymar and Paco Alcacer made the game safe in the last ever competitive game at the Vicente Calderon.

Barcelona lined up as expected with Jasper Cillessen in goal, Javier Mascherano returning in defence while Alcacer took the place of the suspended Luis Suarez in attack.

However, Mascherano­­­­ lasted less than 10 minutes after having to depart on a stretcher after an ugly clash of heads with Marcos Llorente left him bleeding and dazed and swiftly replaced by Andre Gomes.

By that time Barcelona had already had their first chance of the game, Messi teeing up Jordi Alba who came flying down the left and headed across goal but Alcacer could not quite get on the end of it.

Alaves were certainly fired up for the clash and tempers occasionally threatened to boil over with Edgar Mendez booked for fouling Samuel Umtiti on the touchline and then appearing to stand on the defender who was left furious and remonstrated angrily with the officials.

Neymar was also seen berating the officials after Messi was fouled on the edge of the box and the referee played advantage as a feisty opening period threatening to boil over.

However, despite all their protestations Barcelona were lucky not to go behind after a mistake by Gerard Pique allowed Ibai Gomez to pinch possession and beat Jasper Cillessen at his near post, his shot then rebounded off the goalkeeper and rolled across the line.

Somehow Barcelona survived and minutes later they went ahead after yet another brilliant strike from Messi. The Argentine swapped passes with Neymar before sidefooting the ball home for his 54th goal of a simply brilliant season.

The lead did not last long however, Theo Hernandez equalising with a stunning free kick that gave Cillessen absolutely no chance and showed exactly what he has been in such demand this season.

The game looked to be heading into half-time on level terms when Messi suddenly turned on the magic once again. The Argentine fed the ball wide to Gomes who slipped it across goal for Neymar to tap home.

A minute later and it was almost over, Messi again the creator with a great run before slipping the ball to Alcacer who finished brilliantly to send Barcelona in 3-1 up at half-time.

The second half started in much the same vein, Iniesta teasing the ball to Messi who raced past Llorente and found Alcacer at the far post but he couldn’t quite force the ball past Pacheco.

Barca continued to boss the game however, Iniesta firing over although Alaves came back into and thought they’d grabbed one back with 20 minutes to go, Deyverson’s effort correctly ruled out for offside.

Tempers flared again shortly afterwards, Neymar going to ground in the penalty area after a push from Ruben Sobrino that led to a shoving match with Messi and Andres Iniesta both going into the book.

That was about as heated as it got however, with Barcelona seeing the game out safely thereafter and even sending on Aleix Vidal with 10 minutes to go as he completed an amazing recovery from a dislocated ankle.

The crowd chanted Lucho’s name in the final minutes as Barcelona made it three consecutive Copa del Rey titles with a deserved win and a ninth trophy as Barca boss for Enrique in his final game.

Barcelona vs. Alavés, Copa del Rey Final 2017: Match Review, Community Player Ratings

Luis Enrique signs off with a win and yet another trophy

Barcelona signed off their season in fine style with a 3-1 win over Alaves in the final of the Copa del Rey in Luis Enrique’s final game as Barca coach.

Lionel Messi sent Barca on their way before Neymar and Paco Alcacer made the game safe in the last ever competitive game at the Vicente Calderon.

Barcelona lined up as expected with Jasper Cillessen in goal, Javier Mascherano returning in defence while Alcacer took the place of the suspended Luis Suarez in attack.

However, Mascherano­­­­ lasted less than 10 minutes after having to depart on a stretcher after an ugly clash of heads with Marcos Llorente left him bleeding and dazed and swiftly replaced by Andre Gomes.

By that time Barcelona had already had their first chance of the game, Messi teeing up Jordi Alba who came flying down the left and headed across goal but Alcacer could not quite get on the end of it.

Alaves were certainly fired up for the clash and tempers occasionally threatened to boil over with Edgar Mendez booked for fouling Samuel Umtiti on the touchline and then appearing to stand on the defender who was left furious and remonstrated angrily with the officials.

Neymar was also seen berating the officials after Messi was fouled on the edge of the box and the referee played advantage as a feisty opening period threatening to boil over.

However, despite all their protestations Barcelona were lucky not to go behind after a mistake by Gerard Pique allowed Ibai Gomez to pinch possession and beat Jasper Cillessen at his near post, his shot then rebounded off the goalkeeper and rolled across the line.

Somehow Barcelona survived and minutes later they went ahead after yet another brilliant strike from Messi. The Argentine swapped passes with Neymar before sidefooting the ball home for his 54th goal of a simply brilliant season.

The lead did not last long however, Theo Hernandez equalising with a stunning free kick that gave Cillessen absolutely no chance and showed exactly what he has been in such demand this season.

The game looked to be heading into half-time on level terms when Messi suddenly turned on the magic once again. The Argentine fed the ball wide to Gomes who slipped it across goal for Neymar to tap home.

A minute later and it was almost over, Messi again the creator with a great run before slipping the ball to Alcacer who finished brilliantly to send Barcelona in 3-1 up at half-time.

The second half started in much the same vein, Iniesta teasing the ball to Messi who raced past Llorente and found Alcacer at the far post but he couldn’t quite force the ball past Pacheco.

Barca continued to boss the game however, Iniesta firing over although Alaves came back into and thought they’d grabbed one back with 20 minutes to go, Deyverson’s effort correctly ruled out for offside.

Tempers flared again shortly afterwards, Neymar going to ground in the penalty area after a push from Ruben Sobrino that led to a shoving match with Messi and Andres Iniesta both going into the book.

That was about as heated as it got however, with Barcelona seeing the game out safely thereafter and even sending on Aleix Vidal with 10 minutes to go as he completed an amazing recovery from a dislocated ankle.

The crowd chanted Lucho’s name in the final minutes as Barcelona made it three consecutive Copa del Rey titles with a deserved win and a ninth trophy as Barca boss for Enrique in his final game.