Wed, Jan 15, 2020 - Page 16 News List

Barca fire Valverde, appoint ex-Betis boss Quique Setien

AFP, MADRID

Spanish champions Barcelona on Monday announced that they had sacked their coach Ernesto Valverde and appointed Quique Setien as his replacement.

The decision to remove Valverde was confirmed following a board meeting at the Camp Nou that lasted more than four hours.

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

“FC Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde have reached an agreement to terminate the contract that united both parties,” a club statement said.

Setien was to be presented at a news conference at the Camp Nou yesterday.

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

“Setien is one of the most experienced coaches in Spanish football. Throughout his career he has been a proponent of possession-based, attacking football that has been attractive to the fans,” it said.

His first game in charge is at home to Granada on Sunday.

Barcelona play SSC Napoli in the round-of-16 of the UEFA Champions League next month and Real Madrid in the league at the start of March.

Setien has made no secret of his admiration for the stylistic traditions of Barcelona, with the 61-year-old also renowned for favoring an exciting, offensive mode of play.

A former Atletico Madrid and Real Racing Club de Santander player, he was circled as a potential Barca coach during a particularly successful period in charge of Real Betis Balompie.

Setien led Betis to a sixth-place finish in 2017-2018 and qualification for the UEFA Europa League, but, despite overseeing a thrilling 4-3 victory at the Camp Nou early the following season, results tailed off.

Betis finished 10th, and the club and coach parted ways in the summer last year.

Previously, he also helped UD Las Palmas avoid relegation from La Liga in 2015-2016.

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