Barcelona Coach Ernesto Valverde Weighs In on Contract Talks Before Girona Match

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2018

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde sits on the bench before the group B Champions League soccer match between FC Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde on Saturday played down speculation regarding his contract situation, telling reporters he has an option to extend the deal for an additional year and that there's plenty of time left this season to see how things play out.

As Sport reported, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said he would like to keep the tactician around and would prefer to finalise an extension by March.

Valverde is in no rush, however, as he told reporters: "I have a contract at the moment until [the end of the season] and I have the option to extend it by a further year. We know how things work in football. Seasons are long. We will have to see how things go and how the team progresses. It's still September, there's a long way to go [in the campaign]."

Valverde was also asked whether he would consider walking away if he became exhausted, to which he had a humorous response: "We're in September, so there's still time for me to get worn out."

The 54-year-old is in his second year as Barcelona manager after a productive spell with Athletic Bilbao. Last season, he guided the team to the domestic double of La Liga and the Copa del Rey, but the Catalans fell short of expectations in the UEFA Champions League. AS Roma knocked them out in the quarter-finals.

Most regard the Champions League as the team's priority for this season. Bitter rivals Real Madrid have won the past three editions, and the Blaugrana have won the trophy once since the 2010-11 campaign.

Valverde's future could depend on the competition, even if he's successful in Spain again. The Blaugrana have got used to winning La Liga, claiming three of the past four titles.

The clause gives Valverde everything he needs in negotiations, and it's easy to see why Bartomeu wants to agree to an extension―Barcelona have no clause, and Valverde could walk away at the end of this season if he desires.

While no one is expecting that to happen, no one thought Zinedine Zidane would leave Real Madrid, either. The Frenchman shocked everyone by giving up the managerial position at Los Blancos at the end of last season, with Julen Lopetegui replacing him in the capital. 

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