Messi eager for new era under Valverde

Favre expects ‘special test’ for Dortmund when they face Liverpool in pre-season

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi says he has heard good things about new manager Ernesto Valverde, as they prepare to kick off their pre-season.

Messi, now 30, married, and reportedly set for a deep-lying playmaker role under Valverde next season, says that "with the new manager everything will be new".

"He was with Valencia and Bilbao, we are hearing a lot about his very good reputation, so we are pinning our hopes on this new beginning.

"Personally I am very happy and looking forward to starting a new season. We have new coaches and assistants. I would like to work with them and enjoy Barcelona for another year."

Barca defender Gerard Pique also spoke highly of Valverde’s reputation, and his history as a player for Barcelona between 1988 and 1990, while winger Arda Turan recalled facing Valverede’s former teams.

"He is a coach with a consolidated career, he has worked with many teams in Spanish championship, Pique said. "He was a Barcelona player and I think he has all the possible requirements for doing a great job."

"I remember him at Bilbao, Turan added. "He has a good character, when they played against us they always played well and had a powerful team.I know he is a good trainer and now we are going to see him at the highest level."