Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde denies exit reports

Ernesto Valverde denies exit reports
© Getty Images
Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde denies reports that he has already decided to leave San Mames this summer.

Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde has firmly denied reports that he has already decided to leave San Mames at the end of the 2016-17 campaign.

Last week, it was claimed that Valverde, who has been strongly linked with the managerial position at Barcelona, had already informed the Bilbao board that he would be stepping down as head coach of the Basque club this summer.

However, the 53-year-old has insisted that such suggestions are 'nonsense', with Bilbao's season far from finished as they bid to secure a European spot in Spain's top flight.

"I never told the Athletic president I was leaving. More than anything, I wanted to clarify that. When we do talk and when it is convenient for him, the club and for me, you will find out, but it is a bit strange that you think we're talking before we have sat down," Valverde told reporters.

"Our current season is far from over, despite what a lot of people are saying. We have to fight for Europe as that is hugely important for the club."

Valverde's current deal at Bilbao will expire at the end of the season.

Athletic's head coach Ernesto Valverde gestures during the UEFA Europa League Group L football match between Partizan and Athletic Bilbao at the FK Partizan Stadium on October 22, 2015
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