00:13 GMT27 January 2020
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    Speculation about sacking Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde, 55, emerged earlier this week after the prominent Spanish football club finished in a 2-2 draw with bottom-of-the-table Espanyol and last week's Spanish Super Cup defeat by Atletico Madrid.

    The club said in a Monday statement that it had sacked coach Ernesto Valverde, replacing him with former Real Betis manager Quique Setien.

    "FC Barcelona and Quique Setien have reached an agreement for the latter to become first team coach until 30 June 2022", Barcelona said in the statement.

    ​According to media reports, the decision to terminate Valverde's contract was approved following a club board meeting that lasted several hours at the Camp Nou home stadium on Monday.

    Valverde led Barcelona to successive La Liga titles in 2018 and 2019. He came under criticism this season for the team's tangible slump in performance, despite the fact that Barcelona continues to dominate the league halfway through the campaign.

    Despite a solid domestic record, Valverde's stance was challenged by a failure to win the Champions League, suffering defeats from AS Roma in 2018 and Liverpool in 2019 after taking a three-goal lead in each tie.

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


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