Josep Maria Bartomeuhas firedErnesto Valverdeand puts himself in the hands ofQuique Setién,the coach who has always proclaimed his Cruyffista look that existed in the Spanish League. The defeat in the Spanish Super Cup against Atlético has exhausted the patience of the president of Barça, who has signed an unexpected change in the bench. At 61, the opportunity of his life comes to the Cantabrian coach. The job he had always dreamed of: training Barça and also directing Messi. The club has not yet officially communicated it, but as this newspaper has been able to know, Setién is the chosen man.
Valverde, after directing the first training sinceSaudi Arabia,had been summoned to a meeting in the sports city ofSant Joan Despí. It lasted almost an hour and a half. There Bartomeu announced that he was no longer coach of Barça, although he had a contract until 2021. Both Bartomeu and Eric Abidal, the technical secretary, will appear Tuesday to give the official version of the club.
In Sunday's duel against thePomegranate(9:00 p.m.) Setien will already sit on the bench of the Camp Nou, after about four tumultuous days that have ended with Valverde in the street, while Bartomeu precipitated everything in less than 100 hours. From the defeat in Jeddah to the sudden destitution of theTxingurri, with failed attempts to recruitXaviYKoeman.
Bartomeu tried to be like Núñez, ended up being likeGaspart. Bartomeu sought in a last-minute pirouette to bring Xavi to relieve Valverde by removing one of his great assets from the opposition. Xavi has been linked for months toVictor Font,the candidate for the Barca presidency. Bartomeu wanted to act like Nunez when in 1988 he 'stole' Cruyff fromGrup D'Opinió Barcelonista (GOB).
But he ended up being Gaspart, the last president who had fired a coach at Camp Nou. 17 years ago Then, in January 2003, he threw outVan gaaland putAntic. The team was 20 points behind the leader of that time, the Real Sociedad. Then, after five months at the Camp Nou, he was replaced byFrank Rijkaard
Now, Bartomeu has thrown Valverde imitating the same decision he drew in his dayRamon Mendoza, the president of Madrid, with, precisely, Antic. He dismissed him in January 1992, unable to withstand the pressure exerted by Cruyff, and putBeenhakkerto end up losing the white team La Liga in Tenerife on the last day against the 'Dream Team'.
Pochettino fell at the end
The list of candidates to succeed was fromPochettino, fired by Tottenham last November and relieved by Mourinho, toGarcia Pepper,Barça B coach, not forgetting Quique Setién, former coach of Betis. This was the one chosen after having directed Santander Racing, Poli Ejido, Guinea-Equatorial team (just 1 game), Logroñés, Lugo, Las Palmas and, finally, the Betic club where he could not continue due to popular pressure against.
It has been, in the end,the most cruyffista option, embodied in Setién, a technician in love with Barça's way of playing, while Pochettino, defended by a sector of the board for his greater international experience, fell in the final hours of the deliberation, returning, again, to the starting point of the original plan, based on Johan's ideas. He is an integralist of the Cruyffist method, which he has always observed from outside the Camp Nou. Now it will be inside.
Iba Valverde leader in theLeague, tied to points with theMadrid, and was involved in the round of 16 of theChampions League, Naples was waiting for him next February 25, when the fall in the Super Cup arrived. I did not imagine being unemployed today, paying, in deferred, yes, the two dramatic European eliminations against Rome (2018) and Liverpool (2019). Bartomeu has been filled with reasons to become the first president to fire a coach at Camp Nou in the past 17 years.
Reactivate the team
From Gaspart no other technician had been dismissed. NeitherLaporta, neitherRosellThey had taken such measures. Bartomeu, yes. Bartomeu understands that the equipment was being consumed in such a way that he needs an injection of self-esteem and take drastic measures. Valverde, who had won two Leagues in his first two years, in addition to a Copa del Rey and a Super Cup, attended the parade of possible successors before the club communicated the decision.
"It tastes really bad to me, Ernesto doesn't deserve this,"Guardiola said. "The forms are being a bit ugly, you have to have respect," Iniesta denounced. "I empathize wonderfully with Ernesto, he is one of the best coaches there is," said Luis Enrique.
But all those external voices were ignored by the club in a personal decision of the president that also compromises his immediate future, exhausting his second and last term as it cannot be presented again.
Barça wanted to sign Xavi first,but he received a no from the former captain. The club also wanted to sign Koeman, which he called hastily this past week, even knowing that the Dutchman could not accept that proposal because he has to take his country's team to the European Championship this summer. Koeman also said no to Bartomeu.
Despite the refusal of two great symbols of Barcelona, the president had decided to do without Valverde looking for a new and desperate turn to sports policy. If five years ago, after the crisis of Anoeta, prologue of the triplet of 2015, he threwZubizarreta, the sports director, and kept Luis Enrique, now, after the internal crisis of Jeddah, Bartomeu dismisses Valverde, maintains Abidal, technical secretary and puts himself in the hands of Setién.
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