Ernesto Valverde’s position as Barcelona manager hangs by a thread with the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, pondering bringing in a new boss until the end of the season.
The latest setback in Barça’s pursuit of silverware came in the Supercopa de España, when a late Atletico Madrid fightback knocked the holders out of the competition despite leading their opponents with nine minutes remaining.
2️⃣ Barça (L. #Messi 51′ | @AntoGriezmann 62′)
3️⃣ Atlético (Koke 46′ | Morata, 81′ pen. | Á. Correa 86′) pic.twitter.com/Y3wcMyjEiz
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 9, 2020
That defeat has added to a series of disappointing results that have left Valverde’s position to be questioned. Successive capitulations in the Champions League have drawn the most criticism, with comeback defeats to Roma and Liverpool resulting in calls for the Spaniard to be relieved of his duties in charge.
Furthermore, La Liga defeats against Athletic Club, Granada, Levante, and last weekend’s draw against local rivals and bottom club Espanyol did little to temper emotions.
Despite supposedly having the backing of Bartomeu, the Barcelona president’s patience has finally worn thin. According to Sport, the Supercopa defeat has prompted the club to seek out potential candidates to replace the 55-year-old and bring an end to Valverde’s three-year reign at Camp Nou.
His spell has brought with it two La Liga titles, as well as a Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup success. However, despite sitting atop the division at present and into the Champions League round of 16, it appears efforts are being made to prematurely end his tenure. Valverde’s current deal expires in the summer although there is an option to extend his contract for another season.
As Sport say, club directors Òscar Grau and Eric Abidal have both been tasked with finding a successor, with the pair already having flown out to Qatar to meet with club legend Xavi Hernandez over taking the job. Initially those talks were about becoming the boss sometime in the future, but recent circumstances may well bring those plans forward quickly.
The report states that anyone coming in would be doing so on a temporary basis until the end of the season, where a permanent successor would then take over. That said, there is nothing to suggest that if the interim boss performed admirably, they wouldn’t be handed a crack of the whip long-term.