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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Barcelona sacks coach Ernesto Valverde, appoints Setien

Two major Catalan radio stations, Onda Cero and Catalunya Radio, are reporting that Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has been informed he is to be sacked, according to goal.com.

Former Real Betis coach Quique Setien has been named to take charge of the Spanish champions on a deal that runs until 2022. Setien led Betis to a sixth-place finish in 2017/18 but was sacked at the end of last season.

Speculation about Valverde future grew in recent days, following Barca’s 3-2 Supercopa defeat to Atletico Madrid in Saudi Arabia.

Barcelona sacks coach Ernesto Valverde
Valverde became very unpopular with Barca fans after strings of unconvincing performances by the team.

Valverde has failed to completely win over supporters since being appointed in the summer of 2017, with his reputation damaged by crushing Champions League second-leg defeats to Roma (in the quarter-finals in 2017/18) and Liverpool (in the semi-finals in 2018/19).

The former Athletic Bilbao boss took training on Monday and, according to reports in Spain, then spoke with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to discuss his future and was later told he would not be continuing.

Barca legend Xavi had reportedly been offered the job, but said he would only take over in the summer.

Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has also been linked with the role, even though he has previously said he would not take it due to his ties to Espanyol.

“I am never going to be manager of Barcelona or Arsenal because I am so identified with Tottenham and Espanyol,” he said in 2018.

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