After recently losing out on a spot in the final of the Spanish Super Cup, La Liga champions Barcelona have finally sacked Ernesto Valverde as head coach and appointed Quique Setién in his place, the club announced on Monday.
The Spanish giants’ decision to remove Valverde was confirmed following a board meeting at Camp Nou, according to reports. The Blaugrana are top of La Liga – separated from arch-rivals Real Madrid only by goal difference – but have won only one of their last five matches in all competitions. Valverde is the first coach the club has sacked mid-season since Louis van Gaal in 2003.
“FC Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde have reached an agreement to terminate the contract that united both parties,” read a club statement released on Monday night. Setién, the former coach of Racing Santander, Las Palmas and Real Betis, will be presented in a press conference at Camp Nou at 2.30 pm local time (1.30 pm SAT) on Tuesday.
“Barcelona and Quique Setién have reached an agreement for the latter to become first-team coach until 30 June 2022. Setién is one of the most experienced coaches in Spanish football. Throughout his career, he has been a proponent of possession-based, attacking football that has been attractive to the fans,” said the club.
His first game in charge will be at home to Granada on Sunday. Barcelona play Napoli in the last 16 of the Champions League next month and Real Madrid in the league at the start of March. He will have to do without Luis Suarez, who will be missing for the next four months after having surgery on his right knee.
Valverde record at Barça – 163 games in charge
Of the 163 games in which Ernesto Valverde was in charge at Barcelona, he won 108 games (66.25%) while playing to 35 draws (21.47%) and suffering 20 defeats (12.26%). During that time, he has claimed four trophies as coach, including, two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup.
His spell in the role began in the summer of 2017 when took over at the club following four seasons with Athletic Bilbao. After losing out to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup in his debut as manager, he ended the season claiming a league and cup double, beating Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final in the Wanda Metropolitano whilst in the Champions League, lost out to Roma in the quarter-finals.