ERNESTO VALVERDE has thanked Barcelona for his two-and-a-half year spell in charge of the Spanish giants.
Sacked by the Catalans despite his side sitting top of LaLiga, the coach was replaced by Quique Setien on Monday to commence an immediate backlash against the club.
Valverde had won the league in both his seasons at the Camp Nou and yet found himself subject to constant media speculation before getting the chop.
Barcelona struggled to hide their desire to bring back legendary midfielder Xavi, currently in charge of Qatari side Al Sadd.
And even though he turned down the role, the dye was cast for Valverde to become the first coach sacked by the club in 17 tears.
On Tuesday, he released an emotional statement that read: “Dear Barça 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 players for all their efforts that have allowed us to claim four trophies together.”
“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.”
Valverde struggled to attain success in the Champions League and opted for a pragmatism seen as far from the club’s preferred tiki-taka style.
But his ability to hold off dangerous Real Madrid and Atletico sides earned him a kinder departure than that afforded to him, as far as many fans and the Spanish press saw it.
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Madrid newspaper Marca deemed the Barcelona board’s actions as “impossible to do worse” while AS called Setien the “fire extinguisher”.
Valverde concluded: “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 Setién also. All the best to everyone. Visca Barça and Visca Catalonia.”
This post written by Marc Mayo originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.