Ernesto Valverde soccer managerAfter a long meeting with team owner Sokratis Kokkalis, Spanish manager and former player Ernesto Valverde agreed to sign another contract with the Greek club to remain as the manager for at least one more year with the possibility of a second year extension. Since the Christmas holidays rumors swirled as to whether Valverde would stay in Greece for next season or not. Olympiacos fans and players repeatedly expressed their desire to keep the Spaniard in Piraeus so that he can continue building a more competitive soccer team.

Having managed Olympiacos for less than a year, Ernesto has lead his team to their 12th Greek championship in 13 years, 3 games before the end of the season. In addition, after last Wednesday’s victory over Asteras Tripolis, Olympiacos will also play in the Hellas online cup final on 2 May 2009 against rival Athens club AEK.

Valverde only failed in European soccer competitions after failing to lead his team to the Champions League group stage. Olympiacos competed in the UEFA cup instead and even though the team advanced to the round of 32 with emphatic victories over Benfica and Hertha BSC Berlin, failed to continue falling to the French club Saint-Etienne. The blame for the rather poor performance in Europe is not necessarily Valverde’s fault since he joined the club far too late in the summer to build a competitive team. This, of course, will not be the case this year since the recent contract extension giving the manager plenty of time to select the players he needs in order to remain competitive in Greece and Europe.

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