Barcelona sack Ernesto Valverde; Quique Setien announced as successor

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has been sacked despite the club being top of LaLiga table.

The 55-year-old took training on Monday morning amid intense speculation his time as coach was about to come to an end and his fate was confirmed later in the evening.

The former Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol manager has guided Barca to LaLiga titles in each of his two full seasons in charge, as well as winning the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup in 2018.

Former Real Betis boss Quique Setien was announced as Valverde’s successor on a contract until June 2022.

Barcelona are top of LaLiga on goal difference from Real Madrid, and through to the last 16 of the Champions League after topping their group, but some of their performances under Valverde have fallen short of the club’s usually high standards.

Barca have suffered embarrassing Champions League exits over the past two years, losing on away goals to Roma in the quarter-finals in 2018 despite winning the first leg 4-1 at the Nou Camp.

Last year Barcelona beat Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg of a semi-final on home soil, only to lose the return 4-0 at Anfield.

Valverde’s position has been brought into further focus following some inconsistent performances from the Catalan outfit, the most recent being last Thursday’s Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid.

Barca led 2-1 with nine minutes remaining, only to suffer a 3-2 loss, and that proved to be the final straw for Nou Camp chiefs.

New boss Setien will be presented to the media at 1.30pm GMT on Tuesday before holding his first press conference as Barcelona boss shortly afterwards.

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