Former Barcelona boss Valverde: I had tough and difficult times

By Sports Desk January 14, 2020

Ernesto Valverde said his goodbyes at Barcelona on Tuesday and admitted his spell at Camp Nou had occasionally been "tough and difficult".

Valverde was sacked late on Monday after two-and-a-half years in charge, during which time he led the club to back-to-back LaLiga crowns. 

Barca lead the way again this year - level on points with Real Madrid - but the club's board decided to act, with their Supercopa de Espana semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid last week swiftly followed by a meeting with former midfielder Xavi, now at the helm of Qatari club Al Sadd.

Xavi is reported to have held reservations over taking charge midway through the season and, after a seemingly frantic search, Barca settled on Quique Setien as Valverde's replacement, the former Real Betis boss agreeing a deal until June 2022.

Valverde returned to the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper on Tuesday to speak to his former colleagues, after which the club released a letter from the 55-year-old to supporters.

It read: "Dear Barca fans.

"My time as Barcelona coach has come to an end. It has been an intense two and a half years right from the start.

"In that time I have enjoyed some joyful moments celebrating victories and trophies but also others that have been tough and difficult. However, above all I would like to highlight my experience with the fans and the affection showed towards me during my time as coach.

"I would like to thank the president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the board of directors for giving me the opportunity to coach the first team and their confidence during all this time.

"I would also like to thank all the people I have worked with at the club for their support and how they treated me during the two-and-a-half seasons, especially those who work in and around the first team and with whom I have shared so many moments at the Ciutat Esportiva and during away trips.

"Of course, I would like to thank the players for all their efforts that have allowed us to claim four trophies together. From this day, I wish them all the luck in the world and to the new coach Quique Setien also.

"All the best to everyone.

"Visca Barca and Visca Catalonia."

Setien is due to formally sign his contract at 12:30 local time before a news conference an hour later.

Related items

  • Harrison stays on for third loan spell at Leeds United Harrison stays on for third loan spell at Leeds United

    Leeds United have confirmed the signing of Manchester City winger Jack Harrison on loan for a third successive season.

    Harrison has spent the past two campaigns at Leeds, becoming a first-team regular under Marcelo Bielsa.

    The 23-year-old made 46 appearances as Leeds won the Championship and sealed promotion to the Premier League last term, scoring six times and providing eight assists.

    Leeds also confirmed the loan transfer is with a view to a permanent deal.

    Harrison becomes Leeds' third addition of the transfer window, with Helder Costa and goalkeeper Illan Meslier having made their stays permanent following impressive loan spells from Wolves and Lorient respectively in 2019-20.

  • Liverpool complete deal for defender Tsimikas Liverpool complete deal for defender Tsimikas

    Liverpool have confirmed the signing of defender Konstantinos Tsimikas on a long-term deal.

    A Greece international who plays at left-back, Tsimikas joins the Premier League champions from Olympiacos for a reported fee of £11.7million (€13m).

    The arrival of the 24-year-old provides an additional option to Andy Robertson, covering an area of need in Jurgen Klopp's squad ahead of the 2020-21 season.

    Liverpool had also been linked with Norwich City's Jamal Lewis, though reports suggested they were unable to come close to agreeing a fee for the Northern Ireland international.

    "I'm very happy, I'm very proud to be here. For me, [it's] the biggest club in the world," Tsimikas told Liverpool's official website. "It's an honour to be here and I will give my best."

    "The league here, I like a lot. I watch it on the TV and it was always one dream I had from when I was a kid to come to play in this league and to come through.

    "With a lot of work and focus on what I do and what the coach wants, and every day working hard in training, I can be on the highest level.

    "[I want] to achieve [our] goals. To win the league again and also to win the Champions League."

    Tsimikas played in both legs as Olympiacos knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League, though their run in the competition was ended by Wolves in the following round.

    His addition provides competition at a position Robertson has made his own. The Scotland international played in 36 league games in the title-winning campaign, with Klopp also using midfielder James Milner in the role.

  • Valencia unveil first-of-its-kind 'Memorial Wall' in Mestalla tunnel in tribute to coronavirus victims Valencia unveil first-of-its-kind 'Memorial Wall' in Mestalla tunnel in tribute to coronavirus victims

    Valencia have unveiled a 'Memorial Wall' in the players' tunnel of their Mestalla home in tribute to victims of the coronavirus pandemic and those who have worked on the frontline of the health service.

    The mural, which is said to be the first of its kind at a top-flight stadium, will be a permanent fixture at the Spanish club's famous ground, which is the oldest in LaLiga.

    Around 35 per cent of Valencia's playing squad and backroom staff tested positive for COVID-19 in March, with Ezequiel Garay and Eliaquim Mangala among those to contract the respiratory disease.

    Some sort of normality has returned to the region with the resumption of football in June but president Anil Murthy is keen to help those who have been affected by the pandemic, while also paying tribute to Cruz Roja, the Spanish branch of the Red Cross.

    "The Mestalla is right in the centre of Valencia and is an emblematic location for all Valencianos," Murthy said. "When there was flooding, people came here to take refuge.

    "During the coronavirus epidemic we are going through, a very tough period for everyone, we are opening up the Mestalla again to show how we can be part of the community.

    "We have the foodbank here, which is still going on to help people in this time of need – people need jobs and people need food.

    "Valencia is much more than just a football club. We are a social investor and are very happy to work with the Red Cross.

    "This is a very important aspect of our club and we shall continue doing more."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.