Barcelona Sack Ernesto Valverde, Hire Quique Setien

Ernesto Valverde could be on his way out of the Nou Camp

Ernesto Valverde could be on his way out of the Nou Camp

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has been sacked and replaced by Quique Setien despite the club being top of the LaLiga table.

As Valverde discovered, domestic silverware is not enough at Barcelona.

"Throughout his career he has been a proponent of possession-based, attacking football that has been attractive to the fans". He was contracted to June 2022.

It will be the first time since 2002-03 that the Blaugrana have taken the drastic decision to change their coach mid-season.

Valverde was in charge of the team practice on Monday, which happened before the club's board of directors met to seal his fate.

Bartomeu then traveled to Camp Nou, where he met with other members of the club's hierarchy to ratify Valverde's dismissal and finalise the terms of Setien's appointment.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez and Ronald Koeman were both approached to replace Valverde, according to Spanish reports, but neither accepted the role. Qatari club Al-Sadd - where he now coaches - said the Spanish club was negotiating with the Spain great.

But a source has told AFP Sport that Grau and Abidal were returning to Barcelona on Sunday, after Xavi said he would not be giving his agreement straight away. "We wish him luck and success in the future", said Barcelona.

It is no doubt that Xavi has immerged as the big favorite to be the next coach with the Catalans offering a two-year contract with an option to start immediately. The Argentine manager used to play and coach for Barcelona's city rival, Espanyol.

Setien, 61, coached Real Betis last season but left by mutual consent after leading the club to a 10th-place finish. He previously coached smaller Spanish clubs such as Racing Santander, Las Palmas and Lugo.

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"Quique Setien will be the new FC Barcelona coach".

For most clubs, winning the league title in the last two seasons, progressing to the knockout stages of this season's Champions League as group victor and being captained by Lionel Messi, one of soccer's greatest players, would be reasons to triumphantly cheer.

Barcelona had let a 2-1 lead slip to lose 3-2 to Atletico Madrid.

He also won the Copa del Rey in 2018 after taking charge in 2017.

Under Luis Enrique and then Valverde the focus shifted from teamwork to the individual, with elite players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez becoming increasingly important.

It appears that the Blaugrana board have finally chose to part ways with the Spaniard and are looking for an immediate replacement, and if none found, then they would likely finalize a deal for next summer.

Barcelona lead the standings on 40 points, ahead of second-placed Real Madrid on goal difference. The Champions League matches against Napoli will be on February 25 and March 18.

For the Catalans, one of the most successful clubs in European soccer, it is not only about what is won, but how those victories are achieved.

They return to action on Sunday against Granada and it remains to be seen who will be in the Nou Camp home dugout.

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