Ernesto Valverde stops being coach of Barcelona, League leader after the first round and in the round of 16 of the Champions League but with the coach sentenced after the defeat suffered four days before against Atlético in the Spanish Super Cup. Valverde, with a contract until next June, was dismissed during the meeting of the board of directors of Barça after its president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, personally informed him of his dismissal in the Sports City of Sant Joan Despí before undertaking the contract of Quique Setién. His official appointment had to be delayed by the fringes in the contract of his predecessor in office.
The former coach of Racing, Las Palmas and Betis, among other teams, will occupy the position of the first coach dismissed mid-season in the club culé for 17 years, after Louis van Gaal, fired in the 2002-2003 academic year. After the refusal of Xavi Hernández and Ronald Koeman to replace Valverde, Barcelona also shuffled the names of Mauricio Pochettino, without work since he was dismissed last November, and the subsidiary’s technician, Francisco Javier Garcia Pepper, but is Setién was the chosen one.
Quique Setién (Santander, 27-9-1958) was not the first option of the sports commission of Barça but said yes. Ephemeral coach of Equatorial Guinea in the second round of the 2008 African Cup Because he passed by after the resignation of the Brazilian Antonio Dumas and was asked as a favor, his style of touch has a lot to do with the idiosyncrasy of Barça. “I told him that I would have given a little finger for having played with him,” the Cantabrian said in reference to the mythical Johan Cruyff, his idol. «Train Barça? Yes, not Sevilla. So resounding was shown in an interview with the Self after winning 0-2 with Betis in the Santiago Bernabéu, at the end of the last League, and becoming official that the Verdiblanco club dispensed with its services. He let himself be loved then.
Barca fans do not forget the master lecture he taught at the Camp Nou, on the occasion of the 12th day of the last League. He dismantled Ernesto Valverde’s plan, his Betis won 3-4 and his sense of dominance was even greater. His great tricks were both the exazulgrana Cristian Tello as Junior Firpo, the left-handed signed this campaign for Barcelona. Deep and skillful, they were two knives that penetrated the culé behind as a knife in butter. In addition, the quality of Lo Celso and the consistency of Guardado and William Carvalho they drowned the local midfielders and stunned a hobby that, more than whistling, thought to applaud Setien’s boldness.
Valverde led this Monday morning what was his last session at the head of Barça, and subsequently met with Bartomeu for more than an hour for the president to communicate his dismissal. The Extremaduran coach left the Sports City at 2:00 pm without making statements, while Bartomeu then went to Camp Nou for the meeting with his managers and agreed on the Valverde substitute. Also present during the meeting between Bartomeu and Valverde were the executive director of Barcelona, carscar Grau, and those responsible for the technical secretariat, Eric Abidal and Ramón Planes.
A bittersweet grounds
The passing of time will decide where Ernesto Valverde is in the wide memory. But the truth is that its passage through Can Barça leaves a bittersweet ground pulling bitter. Because on the one hand, his stay on the Barça bench leaves two leagues, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup more in the showcases. But on the other, Many are the blushes that Barcelona has experienced under its baton. The loss of identity in the game and the embarrassments in Champions against Roma and Liverpool have weighed heavily.
There are those who defend, even within the board of Bartomeu, that the double debacle of last year against Liverpool (He had just come back to Rome a year earlier) and Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey in Seville had to be the definitive drop in the Valverde glass. It seems that these months have been a tip for the Extremaduran coach.
First in the League and qualified for the eighth of the continental competition, has been fulfilled having contract in force, among other things, because nothing remains of the game culé in the team that jumps on the green in each match. And that hurts. Much in the daily feeling of the amateur, accustomed as he has almost always been to not give up style even in the worst streaks. Perhaps that distancing of style has been what has most diminished the confidence of the environment about the figure of Valverde, although the Champions League and its irregular participation in it have also been key.
Be that as it may, weighing more results or loss of identity, the defeat in the Super Cup was the last nail in his grave. The truth is that there have been many negative results so far this season, also counting the image shown before Real Madrid last month at the Camp Nou. They assure in the city of Barcelona that this Barcelona groped by the eternal rival blew up all the alarms.
Valverde leaves Barça with more titles thanntes. He has grown in every way as a coach after replacing Luis Enrique on the culé bench, but both sides say goodbye abruptly. Maybe the relationship didn’t have to last that long. Two and a half seasons that throw an outstanding balance in the League – he has won the two he has played and today leads the classification – but very deficient in the Champions League. He misses raising the ‘orejona’ and Valverde had it close, but his team was left traced twice with goals in favor in the first leg. Rome and Liverpool are wounds that do not stop suppurating. Both the first year and the second year were saved by the collusion of a wardrobe that has seen in him the perfect figure with which to continue dominating the times.
No one escapes that Valverde has had more account life because the heavy weights of the culé wardrobe have defended it in the most tense moments during these two and a half years. Now, with four months ahead of the competition, the public movements of the club in search of a substitute and the poor support of the players have ended up accelerating the decision.