Barcelona part company with Valverde & appoint Setien

By Sports Desk January 13, 2020

Barcelona have confirmed the departure of head coach Ernesto Valverde and placed Quique Setien in charge.

Valverde was pictured overseeing training on Monday ahead of meeting with Barca's board.

Following the conclusion of those discussions, Barca announced the end of Valverde's two-and-a-half-year stint in charge at Camp Nou, with former Real Betis boss Setien replacing him on a contract until June 2022.

"FC Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde have reached an agreement to terminate the contract that united both parties," the statement announcing Valverde's departure read.

"The club publicly expresses its gratitude to Ernesto Valverde for his professionalism, his commitment, his dedication and his always positive treatment towards all that make up the Barca family. We wish him luck and success in the future."

Setien replaces Valverde despite the fact Barca are top of LaLiga and still in the Champions League. They have been crowned league champions in each of the past two seasons.

However, the former Athletic Bilbao boss has often found his position under scrutiny, particularly after Barca surrendered a 3-0 first-leg lead in the Champions League semi-finals against Liverpool last season.

The 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final in Saudi Arabia on Thursday further cranked up the pressure, with Barca losing to Diego Simeone's men despite having largely controlled the contest.

Barca legend Xavi was said to be among the frontrunners to take the reins, the 2010 World Cup winner having met director of football Eric Abidal in Qatar on Friday.

However, Xavi is reported to have told the club he was not interested in taking over until the end of the season.

Setien will be presented at 14:30 local time (13:30 GMT) on Tuesday before his first game against Granada at Camp Nou on Sunday.

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