Departing Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has written a thank you letter to the club’s supporters, players and directors.
The Catalan club announced on Monday evening that the 55-year-old had been sacked and replaced by Quique Setien, despite the team being top of LaLiga.
Valverde took training on Monday morning amid intense speculation his time at the helm was nearing an end, and his fate was sealed later in the evening.
In a letter, published on the club’s website on Tuesday morning, Valverde wrote: “Dear Barca fans, my time as FC 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.”
The former Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol boss guided Barca to LaLiga titles in each of his two full seasons in charge, as well as winning the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup in 2018.
He added: “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 (training ground) 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, Ernesto Valverde.”
Barcelona sit top of the table on goal difference from Real Madrid, and through to the last 16 of the Champions League after winning their group, but some of their performances under Valverde have fallen short of the club’s high standards.
Former Real Betis boss Setien was named as Valverde’s successor moments after news of his sacking, on a contract until June 2022, and was set to be unveiled to the media on Tuesday afternoon.