Valverde set for Athletic Bilbao return after Uriarte wins presidential election

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Ernesto Valverde, not Marcelo Bielsa, is set to become Athletic Bilbao's next coach after Jon Uriarte won the club's presidential election on Friday.

Valverde has coached Athletic on two previous occasions, from 2003 to 2005 and 2013 to 2017. No coach has overseen more games for the club than his tally of 306.

He enjoyed success with Athletic during his second spell, leading the team to Europe in each campaign and winning the Supercopa de Espana in 2015-16, beating Barcelona 5-1.

In 2017, Valverde was appointed Barca coach. He won LaLiga in his two full seasons at Camp Nou, and a Copa del Rey title in 2018, but failure in the Champions League placed him on thin ice and he was dismissed in late 2019.

The 58-year-old has since been out of work but earlier this week, Athletic presidential candidate Uriarte stated that Valverde would become the club's new coach should he win the election.

Another candidate, Ricardo Barkala, had also backed Valverde to be the coach, while Inaki Arechabaleta had chosen Marcelo Bielsa – another former Athletic coach who is fondly remembered in the Basque country.

Yet Bielsa will not be returning to San Mames just yet, and instead it is Valverde who is set to be appointed following Uriarte's victory.

Uriarte, the youngest of the three candidates at 43, is a former banker who co-founded ticket portal Ticketbis, which was sold to eBay in 2016. He won the election with 46.71 per cent of the vote.

Arechabaleta was second with a 33.72 per cent share, with Barkala coming in third (18.13 per cent).

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