NEWS
Monday January 13 2020
Official: Setien new Barcelona coach

Barcelona have officially sacked Ernesto Valverde, so will have new coach Quique Setien on the bench against Napoli in the Champions League.

The Blaugrana have hired former Real Betis boss Setien following a crisis meeting with President Josep Maria Bartomeu.

It is a highly unusual occurrence, seeing as Barcelona haven’t fired a manager mid-season since Louis van Gaal 17 years ago.

The 55-year-old has been at Camp Nou since the summer of 2017 and his contract was due to expire in June.

He leaves the club after 97 wins, 32 draws and 16 defeats, with Barcelona joint top of La Liga alongside Real Madrid, but with only one win from their last five competitive outings.

The late collapse in Saudi Arabia last week, losing 3-2 to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa semi-final, proved the final straw.

Barcelona will face Napoli in the Champions League Round of 16 next month, with the first leg at the Stadio San Paolo on February 25 and the return at Camp Nou on March 18.

Curiously, Napoli have already sacked their coach after the group stage, replacing Carlo Ancelotti with Gennaro Gattuso.

Setien and Gattuso have met before, when Betis won 2-1 away to Milan and drew 1-1 at home in the 2018-19 Europa League group phase.

Several candidates were mentioned to take the Barcelona job, including former Juventus boss Max Allegri.

Ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was another contender, while Xavi Hernandez didn’t accept a mid-season switch.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/