Barcelona have sacked coach Ernesto Valverde and named former Real Betis coach Quique Setien as his replacement, the club said in a statement on Monday.
“FC Barcelona and Quique Setien have reached an agreement for the latter to become first team coach until 30 June 2022,” the Spanish champions said in a statement.
The 55-year-old Valverde, who led Barcelona to successive La Liga titles in 2018 and 2019, came under fire this season for the team’s dip in performance levels even though they top the league standings at the halfway point of the campaign.
Valverde is the first coach Barca have dispensed with in the middle of a campaign since Louis van Gaal was sacked in January 2003 with the team sitting 12th in the standings.
He also won the Copa del Rey in 2018 after taking charge in 2017.
Barcelona lead the standings on 40 points, ahead of second-placed Real Madrid on goal difference.
Barca are also into the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will face Napoli.
Even though he had a superb domestic record, Valverde’s standing was weakened by his failure to win the Champions League, suffering shock eliminations by AS Roma in 2018 and Liverpool in 2019 after taking a three-goal lead in each tie.
The tide appeared to turn against the coach after a 2-2 draw at struggling Espanyol which was followed by a 3-2 defeat by Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals.
“The club publicly expresses its gratitude to Ernesto Valverde for his professionalism, his commitment, his dedication and his always positive treatment towards all that make up the Barca family. We wish him luck and success in the future,” said Barcelona.
Setien, 61, coached Real Betis last season but left by mutual consent after leading the club to a 10th-place finish.
The former Atletico Madrid and Racing Santander player is known for his possession football and attacking gameplan, which suits the way Barcelona were known for playing in the iconic Pep Guardiola era.
Setien will be presented on Tuesday, with his debut game at home against Granada on Sunday in La Liga.
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez and Ronald Koeman were both approached to replace Valverde, according to Spanish reports, but neither accepted the role.
Nigerian basketball player, Michael Ojo is dead
Nigerian-American basketball player, Michael Ojo has passed away after suffering a heart attack during training in Belgrade, Serbia.
The 27-year-old who previously played for Red Star Belgrade was reportedly having an individual practice at Partizan’s stadium when he collapsed on Friday, August 7.
Local media said he was rushed to the hospital from Partizan’s stadium but showed no signs of life and was confirmed dead.
“We are deeply saddened by the news”, Red Star’s spokesperson Igor Vujicin told AFP.
The Lagos-born who was 7ft 1in tall and weighed 22st played for Florida State University in the United States, before starting his professional career in Belgrade, Serbia with FMP for a year after which he played two seasons for Crvena Zvezda.
He won the 2018 ABA SuperCup as well as the ABA League and the Serbian League in 2019. Ojo was a free agent this summer.
Ojo had been without a club since June 30 but was training with Red Star.
Red Star Belgrade released a statement mourning the shocking loss of their former star.
“The sudden and shocking death of Michael Ojo has deeply affected everyone — players, coaches and the management of a club that accepted him from the first day, and that he considered his own,” Red Star said.
His former teammates and EuroLeague also extended condolences to Ojo’s family, teammates, coaches, “and many fans who enjoyed his performances”.
Aubameyang to commit future to Arsenal with three-year-deal
Arsenal are close to agreeing a new contract with FA Cup hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a breakthrough in talks with the forward, writes Dan Kilpatrick.
Following months of negotiations, the 31-year-old is believed to have verbally agreed to a new deal until 2023, thought to be worth more than £250,000 a week. Barring any late hitches, Aubameyang is now expected to commit his future to the club in a major boost to manager Mikel Arteta.
The club captain has scored 70 goals in 109 appearances since signing from Borussia Dortmund for £56million in January 2018 and he has proved indispensable for Arteta, most recently with a match-winning performance in last Saturday’s FA Cup Final win over Chelsea.
Aubameyang is set to be joined in north London next season by Willian, with the Chelsea winger close to agreeing on a three-year deal with Arsenal, believed to be worth in excess of £100,000 a week.
The Gunners are also eyeing Lille central defender Gabriel Magalhaes and want a central midfielder, with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey among their targets.
A number of fringe players are expected to depart this summer, with AC Milan target Lucas Torreira and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is wanted by Everton and Brighton, among them.
Sane begs Alaba to shun Man City, stay at Bayern
Former Ex-Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness believes any move away from the German champions would represent a step down for David Alaba.
Manchester City are among a number of clubs linked with the defender of late, with just 12 months remaining on his contract.
Former City star Leroy Sane has urged Alaba to stay at Bayern, while Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently insisted he’s confident of the Austrian’s stay.
“I can only say from my own experience that the last million is not that important,” he told DAZN and Goal.
“He gets a secure job here, a lot of fun, home, a lot of love from the fans and acceptance, which he would have to work for at another club.
“There is no club that is as familiar, cosy and pleasant as FC Bayern. For him, it would perhaps be a step forward financially, but in all other areas, it would be a step backwards.
“And according to my feeling, at least the clubs he would like to go to have never knocked, fortunately. And that’s why I hope that he will stay.”
Man, 27, drowns in Kano pond
PGF DG tasks APC Campaign Council on Edo governorship election
Wasiu Ayinde features Teni in new EP titled ‘Fuji The Sound’
Obaseki celebrates Daisy Danjuma at 68
Naked German man chases wild boar that stole his laptop (photos)
UI student’s death: Family demands CCTV footage of incident
U.S government advises citizens against travelling to Nigeria
Nigerian basketball player, Michael Ojo is dead
Sudan to ban female genital mutilation, allow non-Muslims to consume alcohol
Moment man catches baby thrown from 3rd floor of burning apartment (Video)
AC Milan join Jay Z’s Roc Nation management
Nigerian man, used as ‘human collateral’ to Pakistani drug gang, speaks [Video]
River State fishermen celebrate as they capture large sea cow (Video)
Mum jumped into lake and didn’t come back up, Naya Rivera’s four-year-old son tells police
SHOCKING! Prophetess Mary Olubori sells her saliva to members for N550k
Police open recruitment portal [See Application Guidelines]
Nigerian Medical Association election turns violent in Enugu
Lady rejects boyfriend’s marriage proposal, insists he must kneel before she accepts the ring (Video)
Protesters deliver #RevolutionNow message despite Police assault
Mother protects daughters’ alleged rapist from arrest (Video)
VIDEO: Sanwo-Olu, I want justice for my daughter, safety for Nigerians – Mom of lady crushed by fallen container in Lagos
Oshiomhole buys roasted corn by the roadside, eats it in public as people hail him (Video)
Oshiomhole begs God to sack Obaseki, holds prayer session (Video)
Lady humiliates boyfriend after seeing him in hotel with her friend (Video)
Sports1 day ago
Man United flop, Alexis Sanchez, joins Inter Milan
Politics2 days ago
Buhari’s aide, Femi Adesina, mocks #RevolutionNow protests, calls it ‘Child’s Play’
Sports2 days ago
Beirut explosion: I thought I would die, says Nigerian footballer
Metro2 days ago
Police rescue abandoned baby girl from Anambra bush
Sports1 day ago
Willian to join Arsenal on three-year, £100k-a-week deal
Crime1 day ago
21-year-old arrested for allegedly sodomizing underaged boys in Anambra
Entertainment2 days ago
BBNaija: Erica ends relationship with Kiddwaya, says she doesn’t want boy drama
General12 hours ago
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara defies constitution, seeks third term