LaLiga champions FC Barcelona sacked their manager Ernesto Valverde on January 13, 2020. The club wasted no time to replace Valverde with Real Betis coach Quique Setien as the next manager for the Catalan giants.
However, Valverde’s sacking is seen as an unusual move as Barcelona sacked a manager in the midst of the season after 17 long years.
Agreement between FC Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde to end his contract as manager of the first team. Thank you for everything, Ernesto. Best of luck in the future. pic.twitter.com/zrIgB1sW2e— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 13, 2020
Ernesto Valverde had joined Barcelona in May 2017 to replace Luis Enrique. He managed to win two LaLiga titles with the club, however, he was also criticised for his approach in the 2018-19 Champions League. During his stint, Barcelona were knocked out consecutively from the Champions League by AS Roma (2018) and Liverpool (2019).
The last time Barcelona had sacked a manager while the season was in progress was way back in 2003 when Louis van Gaal left the club after just one season at Camp Nou. On Tuesday, Barcelona released a statement saying that the club and Ernesto Valverde have reached an agreement to terminate the contract that united both parties.
The club also expressed its gratitude to Valverde for his professionalism, commitment, dedication and his positive treatment towards the club.
Ernesto Valverde had six months left in his contract, with an option to extend it further by a year. However, the manager was sacked after the team’s dismal performance in the 2019-20 season.
Though Barcelona is currently leading in LaLiga, they were knocked out by Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup recently.
Since the defeat against Atletico Madrid, there had been frequent reports of former Barcelona star Xavi taking charge at the club. However, Xavi’s present team Al Sadd had categorically denied any such move from the Spaniard. Xavi too is believed to have made it clear that he would not join the club in the middle of the campaign.
A former Spanish midfielder, Quique Setien has managed the likes of UD Las Palmas and Real Betis, having a vivid experience of managing in Spanish top-flight. He is set to manage his first game with the Catalan giants against Granada in LaLiga on Sunday, January 19, 2020 (January 20 IST).