Barcelona announced the firing of head coach Ernesto Valverde and the hiring of Quique Setien as its new coach on Monday, just days removed from being eliminated in the Spanish Super Cup semifinals, once again blowing a late lead. Setien, who formerly coach Real Betis and Las Palmas, is under contract with Barcelona until the end of the 2021-22 season.
Valverde, 55, was in the midst of his third season at the club and leaves with two La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey crown to his name. He was unable to win a Champions League title, which was always a perennial objective for a big spending club the likes of Barcelona. His team hasn’t been able to show consistency in the Champions League due to defense woes, and those problems were again evident on Thursday when Barcelona conceded two late goals to lose to Atletico Madrid, 3-2 in Saudi Arabia.
It felt like last season would have been the final straw when Barca blew a 3-0 lead in the Champions League semifinals to eventual champion Liverpool and fell short to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final. Barcelona is also dealing with some injury woes asas star striker Luis Suarez will be out for four months due to a knee injury. The team is still in first place in La Liga and in the last 16 of the Champions League where Napoli awaits on Feb. 25 and March 18.
As for Valverde’s replacement seems to be a surprise to say the least. The 61-year-old Setien has never coached at a big club and hasn’t had much success as of late. He’s never won a trophy as a manager and lasted two years at Real Betis (2017-19) with a 40-21-33 record. He did a fine job at Las Palmas (2015-17) and has also managed Lugo, Logrones, Poli Ejido, Racing Santander and Equatorial Guinea.
It remains to be seen if Setien will make his coaching debut over the weekend when Barcelona hosts Granada on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET — stream via fuboTV (Try for free).
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