Ernesto Valverde suggests Cristiano Ronaldo won’t get special treatment under him

Ernesto Valverde coached Lionel Messi over two-and-a-half seasons at Barcelona
(Image: X01219)

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Ernesto Valverde was speaking to Guillem Balague last month for LaLigaTV’s Talking Football show.

When asked by Balagué if he treated football legends like regular players, Valverde replied: “Yes, I tried to do that.

“But I had the same relationship with him (Messi) as with the others, or similar.

“It’s obviously always a little different, because of what Leo meant to the club, what he meant to the rest of the team, his ascendance with the rest.

“He was a player everyone passed to, everyone often gave him a lot of responsibility and he accepted it.

“So, you have to keep that in mind.

“Yes, but in the same way, you try to make it as natural as possible to put it that way.”

The experienced Valverde won the title in La Liga in each of his two full seasons in charge alongside a Copa del Rey title and Spanish Supercopa during his time at the Catalan giants, winning 97 of his 145 matches at the helm.

Valverde’s coaching career has also included stints at Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia alongside two spells in charge of Olympiacos – with whom he won five trophies including three league titles in Greece.

Despite his domestic dominance, concern was expressed over the manner of the club’s European exits – losing 3-0 at Roma in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2018 before a 4-0 loss at Liverpool the following year in the last four.

On Tuesday, Michael Carrick oversaw an impressive two-goal victory for Manchester United at Villarreal to seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Carrick was part of the coaching staff at Old Trafford under Solskjaer and is taking charge of first-team affairs until a managerial appointment is made by the club.

Watch the full interview with Ernesto Valverde on LaLigaTV’s Talking Football show with Guillem Balagué on 25th November at 7:30PM GMT. Sign up to LaLigaTV with Premier Sports on Sky 427 / Virgin 554 or via streaming with Premier Player and Amazon Prime Video Channels.