Barcelona fires Ernesto Valverde and appoints Quique Setien

<pre><pre>Barcelona fires Ernesto Valverde and appoints Quique Setien

Ernesto Valverde left his position at Athletic Bilbao to become Barcelona coach in 2017

Barcelona fired coach Ernesto Valverde and replaced him with former Real Betis coach Quique Setien.

The 55-year-old Valverde helped the club to two consecutive La Liga titles and led this season due to the goal difference.

However, the Catalan team has shown a number of unconvincing performances under his leadership and has not reached the Champions League final.

The 61-year-old Setien led Betis to his highest goal since 2005 and the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey before he left in May.

He has agreed to a two and a half year contract and will be presented to the media on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. GMT

In a statement, Barca said they had an agreement with Valverde to terminate his contract and thanked him "for his professionalism, dedication, commitment, and always positive attitude toward everything that makes the Barca family special."

Setiens success at Betis

Valverde was under pressure towards the end of last season after Liverpool lost 0-3 in the Champions League semi-final after the first leg and the Copa del Rey against Valencia.

The defeat against the Reds was particularly bad because it reminded them of the Roma collapse last season and suggested that he hadn't corrected weaknesses in his team.

Valverde led the Catalans to the top of the table halfway through the season, but the fluid representations fans have grown accustomed to over the past 15 years have been sporadic.

Their away form was particularly disappointing with defeats at Athletic Bilbao, Granada and Levante and a draw at Osasuna, Real Sociedad and Espanyol.

Setien comes to the Nou Camp as a highly regarded trainer.

After managing the lower leagues, he led Las Palmas to 11th place in the La Liga – the best result in 40 years – and continued his success at Betis. In his first season, he finished sixth and qualified for the Europa League.

Betis also secured victories against Barca, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in his two-year term. He left the Seville outfit by mutual agreement in the summer.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi was closely associated with the role of head coach. He confirmed media reports that he had spoken to the club's sports director, Eric Abidal, and manager, Oscar Grau, over the weekend before declining the club's offer.