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Ex-Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde prefers Australia to Premier League


Valverde, who won two La Liga titles with Barca, is enjoying a rare break in a career which has lasted 18 years and taken him to some of Spain’s top clubs (File Photo/Reuters)

Barely a month since he was sacked as Barcelona coach, Ernesto Valverde has begun pondering his next management job, but he fancies going somewhere off the beaten track.

Valverde, who won two La Liga titles with Barca, is enjoying a rare break in a career which has lasted 18 years and taken him to some of Spain’s top clubs such as Valencia and Athletic Bilbao as well as two stints at Greek giants Olympiakos. “People ask me sometimes ‘How about the Premier League?’ and I say ‘Well actually I’d like to go to Australia’,” the 56-year-old Valverde said at the Bilbao International Football Summit on Thursday.

“A career in football does not last forever and sometimes you think you have to take the opportunity to live in strange places.”

Making his first media appearance since being sacked by the Catalans in January and replaced by Quique Setien, Valverde expressed his admiration for former player Andres Iniesta’s decision to move to Japanese side Vissel Kobe when he left Barca in 2018.

“I applauded Andres when he told me he going to Japan. I thought ‘Wow, he gets to understand a different culture and different people’, and I am also very interested in Japan,” added Valverde, who outside of football is a keen photographer.

“You can take great photos in Japan. There are many places I’d like to go. We’ll see what I end up doing, I haven’t been out of work for very long so I don’t have to decide anything yet, I haven’t got a very clear idea at the moment.

“It’s possible I’d go somewhere abroad. The truth is I like to do strange things so I wouldn’t rule it out.”

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