Ernesto Valverde to stay in Barcelona dugout after contract extension

Valberde has been rewarded with a contract extension at the Nou Camp. (AFP)
Updated 15 February 2019

Ernesto Valverde to stay in Barcelona dugout after contract extension

  • Barca boss took over at the Nou Camp in 2017.
  • Valverde led Catalan club to the league and Cup double last year.

BARCELONA: Spanish champions Barcelona announced Friday they have extended the contract of coach Ernesto Valverde for another season with the option of one more.

Valverde, who took over at the Nou Camp in 2017 after joining from Athletic Bilbao, won the league and cup double last season.

“FC Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde, the first team coach, have reached an agreement to extend the contract between the two parties for another season (2019/20) with the option for one more (2020/21),” the club said in a statement.

Valverde’s previous contract would have expired at the end of this season.

He came within a whisker of leading Barca to an undefeated 2017/2018 season when only a defeat late in the season at Levante prevented the team from making history.

Barca’s run of scoring in 37 consecutive matches in the league came to an end last Sunday with a goalless draw away to Athletic Bilbao.


Saudi desert gears up for Dakar Rally in January

Updated 13 December 2019

Saudi desert gears up for Dakar Rally in January

  • Taking place from January 5 to 17, the 7500-kilometer adventure will be hosted in Asia for the first time
  • The race will start in Jeddah and will end in Qiddiya, Riyadh

DUBAI: The countdown begins for the Dakar Rally Saudi Arabia in Jeddah, where hundreds of drivers from different countries are set to brave Saudi desert over 13 days.

Taking place from January 5 to 17, the 7500-kilometer adventure will be hosted in Asia for the first time. The race will start in Jeddah and will end in Qiddiya, Riyadh.

“We were really excited by the extremely beautiful landscape and the deserts were exactly what we expected with the dunes, the nice mountains and small canyons. We have some stages along the sea also, so it will be a mixed landscape, which is very interesting,” 13-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel said.

The drivers will undergo 12 stages throughout the race, where they will experience different terrains and explore the Kingdom’s landscape.

It will start in Jeddah for 752 kilometer, then continues up north along the coast for nearly 900 kilometer through the Red Sea Project until it reaches the megacity Neom, where the journey reaches its highest point at an altitude of 1,400 meters amid a series of canyons and mountains.

From Neom, the racers will cruise 676 kilometers Al Ula in Dakar’s fourth stage before the sandy hills of Ha’il put the navigation skills of competitors to the test while descending south onto Riyadh.

A rest day in the capital will be followed by Dakar Saudi Arabia’s longest stage – a 741-kilometer route to the west in the center of the kingdom’s enormous desert before looping back towards Haradh in the eastern governorate of Al Ahsa.

The racers will then enter the Empty Quarter for the grand finals, where the winner will be crowned on the final podium.