Ernesto Valverde Becomes First Barcelona Coach to Be Sacked in 17 Years

Xavi Hernandez Barcelona logo

Two captivating years in Andalucia were bookmarked by a remarkable 5-3 win over bitter city rival Sevilla, two victories against Real Madrid and that stunning defeat of Barcelona.

"With this momentum and with this new dynamic we aspire to win La Liga, the Champions League and the cup".

Barca could install a temporary replacement like B team coach Francisco Javier Garcia Pimienta, perhaps with a view to appointing Xavi at the end of the season.

But Setien, a disciple of Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff, was brought in following the club's Spanish Super Cup loss to Atletico Madrid and he was quick to get to know his players in an early-morning training session with Antoine Griezmann among those who appeared delighted with the change at the top.

His best La Liga finish was as Real Betis coach in 2018, taking them to sixth and qualifying for the Europa League, but he parted ways with them last season as the team ended up 10th.

Barça have held preliminary talks with another former player, Xavi Hernández, who is now with Qatari club Al-Sadd, but he has reportedly said he is not interested in moving to Catalonia at the moment. Xavi said he met with Barcelona sports director Eric Abidal on Friday in Doha but did not reveal the nature of the meeting. He's a coach who has shown through the teams that he has had that he has great skills.

There were doubts related to Pochettino's name after he said sometime ago he would never coach the Catalan club.

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The 55-year-old Valverde had always been criticised by some Barcelona fans.

Nicknamed "El Maestro", midfielder Setien started out at hometown club Racing Santander in the 1970s before moving to capital giants Atletico Madrid, where he spent three years.

It felt like last season would have been the final straw when Barca blew a 3-0 lead in the Champions League semifinals to eventual champion Liverpool and fell short to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final. We'd spoken with Valverde many times, too.

Many Barcelona fans will breathe a sigh of relief at his appointment, as they had become frustrated with Valverde's pragmatic style of football, despite the considerable success he had in his two-and-a-half years at the club. The first break for the experienced coach finally happened with Lugo, where he guided them to the Segunda Division and kept them there before departing for Las Palmas - who were in LaLiga - and leading them to survival.

Barca are also into the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will face Napoli.

His first game at the helm will be on Sunday when Granada visit Camp Nou.

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