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BREAKING NEWS: Valverde signs one-year extension at Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde has agreed a new contract as Barcelona coach until the end of next season with the option for a further year, the club have confirmed.

Valverde is in his second campaign at Camp Nou, having joined from Athletic Bilbao, and has enjoyed a strong start to life as Barca's coach – winning LaLiga and the Copa del Rey in 2017-18.

Once again the Catalan giants look well on track for successful season this time around, sitting six points clear at the top of the table after 23 matches, while they are also in the semi-finals of the Copa and the Champions League last 16.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke highly of Valverde earlier in the week, insisting he would be in charge of the team next season regardless of whether they win any silverware.

And Barca have made such a commitment official, handing him a new contract which could also see him remain in charge until 2021.

Valverde's success at Barca has come in spite of criticism of the club's transfer dealings.

Players such as Philippe Coutinho, Arturo Vidal and Malcom have struggled to have the desired impact, but still Valverde's team have impressed and got results.

Club talisman Lionel Messi has also continued to thrive, with Valverde giving him a free role which saw him score 34 goals in 36 LaLiga games last term, while he has 21 in as many appearances in the league this season.

The former Athletic, Espanyol, Villarreal and Olympiacos coach is due to speak at a news conference later on Friday.