BARCELONA

Valverde issues statement following Barcelona sacking

Ernesto Valverde has issued his first statement following confirmation of his dismissal as Barcelona coach, in which he wished the best for his replacement Quique Setién.

Valverde issues statement following Barcelona sacking
Susana Vera REUTERS

Ernesto Valverde has issued a statement following his sacking as Barcelona head coach on Monday night, in which he thanked the club’s president and board of directors and wished his replacement, Quique Setién, "all the luck in the world". 

Talk of Valverde’s imminent dismissal had intensified over the past couple of days as details emerged that Barcelona representatives had spoken with Xavi Hernandez about immediately taking over at Camp Nou.

Eventually, Barça’s legendary midfielder, who is the current coach of Al Sadd, declined the offer, which was followed by the rejection of Holland boss Ronald Koeman, leaving the club with a difficult and embarrassing situation to resolve with Valverde.

As press speculation grew about who would be the next Barcelona coach, the club confirmed on Monday night that former Real Betis boss Setién would immediately replace Valverde, who was sacked after two-and-a-half years at Camp Nou.

Former club star and ex-team mate of Xavi, Andres Iniesta has called the whole Valverde affair “a bit ugly” in a Spanish radio interview. And whatever Valverde’s own true feelings may be on his dismissal after leading Barcelona to two consecutive league titles, the coach himself took a diplomatic tone in his farewell statement.

Ernesto Valverde (right) will be replaced by Quique Setién (left).

Valverde statement following Barcelona sacking

“My time as FC Barcelona coach has come to an end. It has been an intense two and a half years right from the start,” said Valverde in a statement published on the club's official website

“In that time I have enjoyed some joyful moments celebrating victories and trophies but also others that have been tough and difficult. However, above all I would like to highlight my experience with the fans and the affection showed towards me during my time as coach.

“I would like to thank the president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to coach the first team and their confidence during all this time.

“I would also like to thank all the people I have worked with at the Club for their support and how they treated me during the two and a half seasons, especially those who work in and around the first team and with whom I have shared so many moments at the Ciutat Esportiva and during away trips.

“Of course, I would like to thank the players for all their efforts that have allowed us to claim four trophies together. From this day, I wish them all the luck in the world and to the new coach Quique Setién also.”

Having won two LaLiga titles and one Copa del Rey, Valverde walks away from Camp Nou with Barcelona currently sitting top of LaLiga and having topped their Champions League Group to secure a last-16 tie with Napoli. He is the first Barça coach to be axed by the club since Louis van Gaal in 2003.