Ernesto Valverde has been relieved of his duties after a series of underwhelming results at Barcelona, the club have announced on their official website. The Spaniard, who took over the reins from Luis Enrique in 2017, guided the club to back to back LaLiga titles but the Blaugrana's failure in the UEFA Champions League is believed to have been a decisive factor in his sacking.
Valverde divided opinion in his time at the club and the former Athletic Bilbao coach was often slated for the club's lack of footballing identity, something they have been renowned for over the years. Aside from his philosophy, Barcelona's embarrassing capitulation in successive seasons in the Champions League did not sit well with the hierarchy, as the circumstances of the defeats against AS Roma and Liverpool were virtually unheard of for a club of such stature.
More so, Barcelona have failed to hit the ground running this season despite what their position in the table suggests, as fans have grown disgruntled with the club's results coupled with their unattractive brand of football. The Catalan club's 3-2 defeat against Atletico Madrid in the semi-final stage of the Spanish Super Cup was the final straw for the 55-year-old, who was remarkably booed by his own fans in the wake of their most recent defeat.
Valverde becomes the first Barcelona manager since Louis van Gaal in 2003 to get the sack and although legendary midfielder Xavi has been linked with a sensational return to the Camp Nou to assume his duties on the touchline, former Real Betis manager Quique Setien is reportedly the frontrunner to take over the reins at the Camp Nou.Published 14 Jan 2020, 03:55 IST