Barcelona part company with Ernesto Valverde and hire Quique Setien

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Barcelona have parted company with head coach Ernesto Valverde and announced the signing of former Real Betis boss Quique Setien in his place.

The sack of the former Athletic Club coach comes on the heel of the club’s 3-2 Supercopa defeat to Atletico Madrid in Saudi Arabia at the weekend.

An official statement from Barca reads: “Agreement between FC Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde to end his contract as manager of the first team. Thank you for everything, Ernesto. Best of luck in the future.”

“Quique Setien will be the new FC Barcelona coach. The man from Cantabria in the north of Spain comes to Barca after having had spells at Racing Santander, Poli Ejido, Logrones, Lugo, Las Palmas and Betis, his previous club in the 2018/19 season.

“Throughout his career he has been a proponent of possession-based, attacking football that has been attractive to the fans.”

A change had been on the cards since Barca CEO Oscar Grau and sporting director Eric Abidal travelled to Qatar for talks with Xavi on Friday.

And even though no agreement could be reached for the club’s former midfielder to take over, the 39-year-old expressed an interest in moving in the summer.

Valverde was appointed in the summer of 2017 and won back-to-back LaLiga titles, but had been under scrutiny following Champions League collapses against Roma in his first season and Liverpool last term.

The former Valencia, Villarreal, Espanyol and Olympiacos coach oversaw 145 games in his spell at Camp Nou, winning 97 and losing just 16 of those.

As well as the two LaLiga titles, he also led Barca to a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Supercopa – both in 2018.

He leaves with Barca ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference after 19 rounds of LaLiga and after steering the club into the knockout stages of the Champions League as group winners, with a last-16 tie against Napoli ahead in February and March.

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