What's the story?
As reported on the Barcelona website, Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu has confirmed that under-fire manager Ernesto Valverde. will stay at the club for another season and is part of a long-term project they are trying to implement together at the Nou Camp. Many fans and pundits were clamouring for Valverde to get the axe after Barcelona's embarrassing Champions League semi-final exit at the hands of Liverpool.
In case you didn't know...
Joseph Bartomeu has overseen the club win 4 LaLiga titles, 4 Copa del Rey wins and various other titles including the famous 2014-15 Champions League silverware. Despite this, he has seen arch-rivals Real Madrid amass 4 Champions Leagues in the same time frame, a fact that has resulted in supporters clamouring for better performances in Europe's most elite competition.
Former Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde was brought in for that very purpose in the 2017-18 season, after then manager, Luis Enrique was let go following a dismal 2016-17 Champions League campaign.
But European glory has evaded Valverde, with Barcelona losing out to AS Roma in the 2017-18 Quarterfinals, and that too by surrendering a 3-0 at Rome in the second leg after trumping them 4-1 at home.
The embarrassment got compounded this season, with Barcelona crumbling again under pressure. Taking a 3-0 first leg lead to Anfield, the Spanish champions surrendered meekly 4-0 to a high-pressing Liverpool side.
The heart of the matter
Barcelona President Valverde opened up today on how he feels the current season has gone and Valverde's future at the Nou Camp.
"Planning for next season has been underway for some time," he said. "Some players have already been signed [Frenkie De Jong and Emerson] and we'll talk further after the Copa del Rey final. Now it's time for the players to recover from a drop in morale," he said, referring to the Champions League outser at the hands of Liverpool.
Speaking on the upcoming Copa del Rey final against Valencia, Bartomeu said:
"Our main objective is La Liga, and after that, we want the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. We won La Liga with some games in hand. We all want more. Now the Copa del Rey final is coming, and we're coming off a painful loss. It's time to pick our heads up, to get excited, and to get motivated to compete."
On Valverde, Bartomeu said:
"He is the coach we want, he is under contract, and we are very happy with him,"
It remains to be seen if Messi features in Barcelona's final LaLiga game of the season against Eibar on Sunday. Valverde will want to conserve his star man's energy for the Copa del Rey final vs Valencia on 26th May, Sunday.