Ernesto Valverde admits a quick look at Barcelona’s achievements was enough to convince him he had accepted “the most difficult but nicest challenge” of his career.
Valverde was officially presented as Barcelona’s new coach on Thursday afternoon having earlier in the day put pen-to-paper on a two-year contract, with the option of a third, at the Nou Camp.
The 53-year-old counts Valencia, Villarreal, Espanyol, Olympiacos and Athletic Bilbao among his previous coaching posts, but says joining five-time European champions Barca has taken him to a different level.
He said in his first press conference: “When a team like Barcelona call you, you don’t need to think too much about it.
“It’s the most difficult challenge in my career but also the nicest. I have great confidence.
“The demands are very high and just by looking around the museum I understand the pressure that I have, and the results that my predecessors achieved were very high, great coaches in the history of football.
“I wanted a difficult challenge and of course this is one of the biggest, I’ve no doubt about that.”
Valverde, who played for Barcelona under Johan Cruyff between 1988 and 1990, is well aware of the club’s traditions, expectations and playing style.
He said: “I’m conscious of Barca’s style of football. I know it, I have to re-adapt to it.
“My idea is to help the players be better players, create team spirit and achieve results.
“All the coaches who have passed through here have been aware of the style but have put their personal stamp on things.
“The possibility of improving the team? It’s a difficult question. I can have my ideas but I must be grateful to the work of my predecessor because Luis Enrique achieved great things.
“I think there are things I can do differently but it’s something I must decide as we go.”
Valverde takes over the Nou Camp reins from Enrique, who won nine trophies in his three years at the club but could only add the Copa del Rey at the end of his final season.