Quique Setien began his first session as Barcelona coach yesterday morning just as the sacked Ernesto Valverde drove out of the training ground for the last time.
Valverde had said goodbye to the players, collected his things and left, closing the page on a brutal few days that had finally seen him sacked on Monday night.
After Barca’s public pursuit of Xavi Hernandez ended in failure, they have turned to Setien, the 61-year-old who has dedicated his coaching career to a belief in exciting, possession-based football.
Barcelona confirmed Setien’s appointment following a board meeting that lasted more than four hours at the Camp Nou on Monday afternoon. His contract, which runs until June 2022, appears also to be a show of faith.
Valverde is the first coach to be sacked by Barca mid-season since Louis van Gaal in 2003 and if that points to chaos, Setien inherits a team in a healthy position too.
Barcelona sit top of La Liga, albeit level on points with Real Madrid, and face a winnable tie against Napoli next month in the last 16 of the Champions League.