Barcelona Sack Ernesto Valverde & Appoint Quique Setien as New Manager

Barcelona have sacked manager Ernesto Valverde a few months before the end of his contract and appointed former Real Betis coach Quique Setien as the new head coach until June 2022.

With disappointing results and the lack of a signature playing style (finally) too much to bear, the last straw for the Catalan club’s board regarding Valverde’s tenure was last week’s Supercopa de España semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid, where they let a 2-1 lead slip in the final ten minutes. The result was far from a disaster in isolation, but it capped a run of just one win in five games for an already under-fire manager. 

While club legends Xavi Hernandez and Ronald Koeman, as well as Champions League finalist Mauricio Pochettino, were all mooted targets to replace Valverde, unattached 61-year-old Setien was identified as a frontrunner for the short-term, as reports emerged on Monday that ?his agent had flown to Barcelona to discuss terms.

Last seen at Betis before being sacked last May, Setien – a notoriously attacking coach – will be tasked with restoring some panache to ?Barcelona’s play as they chase success in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and, perhaps most importantly, the Champions League.

Valverde was appointed in the summer of 2017 to replace Luis Enrique, having played a handful of times for the club in the middle of a professional career which saw him win the Copa del Rey and Cup Winners’ Cup. 

The former Espanyol manager had been under pressure from fans for his pragmatic playing style since taking over the club, failing to get the supporters on board at any point during his tenure despite back-to-back La Liga titles. 

Last season was Valverde’s toughest at Camp Nou, his side throwing away a three-goal first-leg lead for the second consecutive season to drop out of the Champions League.

They also lost the Copa del Rey final to Valencia, finishing the season with ‘just’ the league title and a relatively unflashy style of play which many fans – and some board members – have railed against. 

Barça sit atop La Liga at the halfway stage, but are ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference alone, and will be without Luis Suarez for the majority of the second half of the season. They face Napoli in the last 16 of the Champions League. 

For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!


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