Messi eager for new era under Valverde

David Villa announces retirement at Vissel Kobe

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."

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