Barcelona’s Giráldez finishes unbeaten term before NWSL move

Barcelona coach Jonatan Giráldez signed off with a 3-0 win against Valencia on Sunday to seal another unbeaten league season ahead of his move to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side Washington Spirit this month.

Vicky López, Patri Guijarro and Caroline Graham Hansen scored the goals as Barça made it 29 wins from 30 Liga F games, ending the campaign with 88 points, 15 clear of second-placed Real Madrid. Their only dropped points came in a draw against Levante.

Barça had already clinched a fifth successive league title in May and Giráldez leaves after guiding the club to a first ever quadruple, sealed with the Champions League final win over Lyon last month.

Their only defeat in all competitions this season came in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal against Chelsea, before they overturned the 1-0 deficit at Stamford Bridge a week later to reach the final.

The Catalan side also won the Copa de la Reina and the Spanish Supercopa this season, taking Giráldez’s tally to 10 trophies from a possible 12 during his three years in the job.

The only silverware he missed out on was the 2022 Champions League, losing to Lyon in the final, and last season’s Copa de la Reina when Barça were expelled for fielding an ineligible player.

Giráldez, 32, now heads to the United States to take charge of Washington Spirit in a move which was first announced six months ago.

The Spirit are third in the NWSL after 13 games with 28 points, one adrift of pace-setters Kansas City Current and Orlando Pride.

They have three games coming up — Gotham FC, North Carolina Courage and Bay FC — before the league breaks for the Olympic Games in July.

Adrián González has been serving as interim coach in anticipation of Giráldez’s arrival and will remain at the club as an assistant coach.

Giráldez first took charge of Barça in 2021, replacing Lluis Cortes who he had previously assisted.

In his first season as manager, Barça won all 30 of their league games, but came up short in the Champions League, beaten 3-1 by French side Lyon.

European success did follow in his second season as the Blaugrana came from behind to beat German team Wolfsburg in the final.

That success was followed up this year with Barça’s first-ever win over eight-time European champions Lyon — who are also owned by Spirit owner Michele Kang — as Barça sealed back-to-back Champions League titles.

In total, Giráldez has overseen 139 matches as Barça coach, winning 130, drawing four and losing five.