FLASH: Barcelona Sack Valverde, Names Replacement

FLASH: Barcelona Sack Valverde, Names Replacement

Spanish champions Barcelona have sacked their coach Ernesto Valverde and appointed Quique Setien as his replacement, the club announced on Monday.

"FC Barcelona and Quique Setien have reached an agreement for the latter to become first-team coach until 30 June 2022," the statement reads.

YANS gathered that the decision to remove Valverde was confirmed following a board meeting that lasted more than four hours at Camp Nou on Monday afternoon.

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Barca are top of La Liga but have won only one of their last five matches. Valverde is the first coach the club has sacked mid-season since Louis van Gaal in 2003.

Setien will be presented in a press conference at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

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.

A former player of Atletico Madrid and Racing Santander, Setien led Betis to a sixth-place finish in 2018 and qualification for the Europa League but and also helped Las Palmas avoid relegation from La Liga in 2016.

Doubts had surrounded Valverde for several months and were underpinned by two disastrous exits from the Champions League.

Barcelona's shocking collapse against Roma in 2018 was followed by a similar capitulation against Liverpool last year.

Familiar fragility had been evident this season and a 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup on Thursday, in which Barcelona conceded two late goals, prompted the board to act.

In Valverde's two seasons, his team won two La Liga titles, as well as the Copa del Rey in 2018, and another league success remained very much in sight this term, despite Madrid's impressive form in recent weeks.

But Barca's performances have been unconvincing and there were lingering concerns about Valverde's more functional tactics, which appear to have informed the switch to Setien.

When Valverde arrived in 2017, Barcelona were wounded, hurting after the shock departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and humiliated, as consecutive defeats by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup hinted at trouble for the season ahead.

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