Valdes back at Barcelona as under-19 coach

By Sports Desk July 19, 2019

Victor Valdes has returned to Barcelona to become head coach of the club's premier under-19 side.

The homegrown Blaugrana great and retired goalkeeper replaces Denis Silva on an initial one-year deal, which Barcelona announced includes an option for a second season.

Valdes, 37, made 539 competitive appearances for the LaLiga giants after debuting in 2002.

He left the club after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in 2014 and went on to have brief spells at Manchester United, Standard Liege and Middlesbrough, before moving into coaching at Madrid-based Moratalaz last season.

Valdes, who also won 20 caps for Spain, is scheduled to begin pre-season work with his new side on July 29, ahead of a friendly against Ajax's youth team on August 27.

Barca boast a proud history of appointing former players to coaching positions – Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and incumbent Ernesto Valverde are among those to have won trophies after returning to lead the first team in recent times.

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    The Norwegian landed the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or in December 2018 to reflect her status as the world's leading player, but now she faces a challenging road to recovery.

    Hegerberg announced on Twitter: "So here it is. I ruptured my ACL this weekend. This is a setback for me, but I'm going to work through this with all my heart and my energy. The best is yet to come. YOU'LL SEE ME SOON!"

    Lyon confirmed the blow, announcing on their website: "Lyon regret the injury to Ada Hegerberg, victim of a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in the right knee, that occurred in training.

    "The operation date will be determined in the coming days and the unavailability will be corresponding to the known statistics for this type of injury.

    "Lyon will offer Ada the best surgical conditions and post-operation rehabilitation to return her to full strength."

    Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas sent a message to 24-year-old Hegerberg, writing on Twitter: "You are very strong Ada, on and off the pitch! We're all going to work to get you back in the best condition to return even stronger.

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    Lyon sit top of the French women's championship with 38 points from 14 games, and Hegerberg has scored 23 goals in 18 matches across all competitions this season.

    She controversially missed last year's World Cup, having made herself unavailable to Norway because of her stance over how women's football is treated in her home country.

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    "Never was it my intention to offend them, they are part of us," he told a news conference on Tuesday when discussing the fans' reaction.

    "Since I arrived here from day one until the last day, what I want is to fight and play as well as possible to see the Etihad full every single day, every single day.

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    City have a doubt over centre-back Aymeric Laporte but are expected to field a strong side, being eager to give United no hint of weakness.

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    Guardiola said in Tuesday's news conference: "I show respect for my opponents from day one, from when I started with the second team at Barcelona to today, sat in front of you here.

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