'He is the man they need' - Guardiola backs Valverde to succeed at Barcelona

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The former Athletic man takes over at the giants, who had to settle for second in LaLiga and a Champions League quarter-final exit in 2016-17

Pep Guardiola believes Ernesto Valverde is exactly the type of coach Barcelona needed to reinstall the club as the dominant force in La Liga.

Barca had to settle for a runners-up spot to Real Madrid last season as Luis Enrique's tenure ended in a campaign that yielded a second consecutive Champions League quarter-final exit.

The Catalan giants had won six of the previous eight league titles up for grabs, with three of them coming during Guardiola's reign, which also produced two European crowns.

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Valverde, a former Camp Nou team-mate of the Manchester City manager, will be expected to bring similar success to the club and Guardiola is convinced it is a match made in heaven.

"I think Barcelona needed a coach like Ernesto," he told L'Esportiu of the former Athletic Bilbao boss.

"A squad like this one, which has won everything, needs a guy who wants them.

"You need someone that understands the club, and Ernesto is that person. Also, he is a coach with a lot of knowledge.

"It will go well, as I knew that it would with Luis Enrique."

Valverde will be blessed with an array of talent to pick from as he attempts to plot a course to glory, with no player more lauded than Argentina star Lionel Messi.

Guardiola remains a staunch fan of the 30-year-old, with Messi's easy-on-the-eye approach particularly appealing to the ex-Bayern Munich coach.

"He is the best player I have ever seen," added Guardiola. 

"The best thing about him is not what he does, but how simple he makes everything look.

"He is not just the best player because he can dribble past three or four players, it is because he does it better than anyone else in the world."


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