7 candidates likely to succeed Valverde at Barcelona

Tanya Simon
January 14, 2020

Ernesto Valverde's tenure as Barcelona coach is over after he was sacked by the club on Monday and replaced by former Real Betis manager Quique Setien in the Camp Nou dugout, the team announced.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez and Ronald Koeman were both approached to replace Valverde, according to Spanish reports, but neither accepted the role.

Setien's appointment may come as a surprise to fans unaware of his previous work, especially given the Camp Nou outfit have been in talks with club legend Xavi about taking the reins in Catalunya.

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Barça have held preliminary talks with another former player, Xavi Hernández, who is now with Qatari club Al-Sadd, but he has reportedly said he is not interested in moving to Catalonia at the moment.

A delegation is understood to have met with the club's record appearance holder in Doha last week, although Barcelona were reluctant to reveal the true nature of the discussions.

It is very clear that Ernesto Valverde's time as the coach of FC Barcelona is coming to an end with constant rumors surrounding many potential candidates to take over either mid-season or in June.

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But Xavi added: "I can not hide that it's my dream to coach Barcelona, I said it many times".

Setien, 61, coached Real Betis last season but left by mutual consent after leading the club to a 10th-place finish.

Barcelona had let a 2-1 lead slip to lose 3-2 to Atletico Madrid.

It felt like last season would have been the final straw when Barca blew a 3-0 lead in the Champions League semifinals to eventual champion Liverpool and fell short to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.

Under Luis Enrique and then Valverde the focus shifted from teamwork to the individual, with elite players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez becoming increasingly important.

For the Catalans, one of the most successful clubs in European soccer, it is not only about what is won, but how those victories are achieved.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu met with Valverde at the club's training ground on Monday, where he had previously taken part in practice with the players ahead of Sunday's game against Granada.

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