Ernesto Valverde, in his previous stage at Barcelona. Sergio Perez
Ernesto Valverde will be Athletic's coach if one of the two candidates presented to him as an alternative, Ricardo Barkala or Jon Uriarte, manages to win the elections on Friday, to which the 40,320 members with the right to vote are called, who will deposit their ballots in the ballot boxes enabled for the first time in the field of San Mamés.
It would be the third presence on the coaching bench born in Viandar de la Vera (Cáceres).
Only Javier Clemente and Iñaki Saez have managed the rojiblanco team on three different occasions.
"Second parts were never good," Valverde pointed out when he began his second season, although he clarified sarcastically: "Except for the Godfather", so the third part also seems to be to the liking of the coach, a declared movie buff, and who has given the placet to two of the three candidates, although to compete against a tough rival, Marcelo Bielsa, candidate for the bench of the other candidate, Iñaki Arechabaleta.
Valverde himself alluded to the film saga in statements to Euskal Telebista: "The first two were very good, and the last one, I have to admit that I didn't like it that much", but, he adds, "I also have to admit that the director threw a couple of eggs to make the third”.
⚽ Ernesto VALVERDE
🤝🏼 #IZANathletic #IlusioBerriBat pic.twitter.com/BHIH1tM42v
– IZAN Athletic – Jon Uriarte (@izanathletic) June 22, 2022
Valverde confesses that, "after the candidacies were confirmed, two of them called me, they thought it was the best option to train Athletic, I took my time to think about it and I did it", and explains the reasons that prompted him as a member of Athletic.
“I made my position clear to both of them: it had to be inclusive and not exclusive, because I care what happens to the club.
It was necessary to see that the important thing is to focus the debate on the projects and those who lead them.
That was my idea, that there was some consensus,” he says.
The coach has not returned to the bench since he left FC Barcelona, but he has seen Athletic regularly.
“I have analyzed it, sometimes from a distance, now in more depth.
Gone are the Aduriz, Iraola, Gurpegui... there are others who continue from those I trained and interesting additions and talented players in the subsidiary, who can help and be an important project for the future”, he says before the ETB cameras.
And he concludes: “What I see is that the level of commitment, demand and effort is maintained as it has always been at Athletic and there are no differences in that with the team that I managed”.
The one who can be coach of Athletic if Uriarte or Barkala win in the elections, agrees on one point with Marcelo Bielsa.
They both analyzed the team and came to the conclusion that Marcelino was the right person for the bench: “I would have liked the men's team to have reached a consensus like the women's with Iraia Iturregi.
He thought it could be the best for the club, with the coach that was there, Marcelino, but for whatever reason it couldn't be, I can't get in there, "he says.
It will be a tough fight for the attractiveness that the presence in the fight of the two coaches who have connected the most with the fans represents for the social mass of Athletic.
With Bielsa, Athletic reached two finals in a year of great team play;
the arrival of Valverde, after the departure of the Argentine, propelled the team to play the Champions League.
In addition, the people from Bilbao played a Cup final against Barcelona, which they won, in two games, the subsequent Super Cup.
He managed to qualify Athletic for Europe in the four seasons in which he directed the team and became the coach with the most games directed in the club's history (307).
The disadvantage for the two candidates who share a coach is that the vote could be divided between them.
In a two-way contest, the partners can be divided equally, but in the case that occurs in Athletic, Valverde's attractiveness can, paradoxically, take its toll on Barkala and Uriarte and weaken the two candidacies, which would mean a advantage to Iñaki Arechabaleta.
The end of the campaign, in which Jon Uriarte's candidacy ratified the dismissal of his sports director, Carlos Aviña, due to the stir caused by the tweets he published a decade ago, with homophobic and sexist comments, has accelerated with the irruption of Ernesto Valverde in the list, although in no case will it be presented by Uriarte or Barkala.
As happened with Joaquín Caparrós, who was the trump card of two of the presidential candidates in 2008, he will wait calmly in his house until, if the partners decide, his time comes.
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