It looks like Barcelona could be holding onto Ernesto Valverde for at least another season.
Multiple reports out of Spain state that after consulting with the club’s directors and executives, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has decided against pulling the trigger and firing Valverde. The Spaniard has come under fire from Barcelona fans after two epic collapses in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, leaving Messi and Co. Out of the Champions League final yet again.
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According to Barcelona-based publication Sport, Valverde is staying at Barca because it’s Bartomeu’s final decision, because the club didn’t want to make more than than there’s already expected to be within the squad, and because it didn’t want to cave into public pressure. However, one reason not mentioned in the piece by Sport is whether there’s another manager better suited for the role that’s available.
Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and others have been linked with the job in recent days, but they’re currently under contract to the Belgian National Team and Netherlands National Team, respectively, so Barcelona will not only have to pay out the rest of Valverde’s contract but then buy-out another manager’s contract and then pay them big bucks to come to the Camp Nou. The situation would be the same should Barcelona go after Mauricio Pochettino.
Ultimately, with Frenkie de Jong coming in, France Under-20 star Jean-Clair Todibo and potentially more transfers to freshen up the Barcelona squad, there’s a chance that Valverde can still achieve ultimate club glory, leading the team to the Champions League title.
But it’s clearly a sign of fan expectations that after another tremendous season in La Liga, where Barcelona ran away with the league, fans still had rage for Valverde, in part because of the Champions League finish and also because of accusations that Valverde hasn’t played the “Barcelona way.” Valverde’s players have defended him, but he’s lost the support of the fans.
Next season should be interesting, especially come March and April, when Barcelona is presumably back in the Champions League knockout rounds.