New Barcelona boss Setien goes from ‘walking past cows’ to working with ‘best player’ Messi


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The former Real Betis boss has been appointed as successor to Ernesto Valverde at Camp Nou and is looking forward to getting to work

Quique Setien admits he could not have imagined landing the Barcelona job in his “wildest dreams”, with the new man at the Camp Nou helm having gone from “walking past the cows in my village to training the best players in the world”.

The former Real Betis boss has been handed a contract by the reigning La Liga champions through to the summer of 2022 .

He has been asked to fill the void created by Ernesto Valverde’s dismissal , with a two-time title winner relieved of his duties in a stunning turn of events.

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Barca had approached former captain Xavi about inheriting the reins, after seeing him cut his coaching teeth in Qatar, but were ultimately forced to look elsewhere for a new manager.

That search led them to Setien, with the 61-year-old admitting that he is still having to pinch himself at taking on one of the most prestigious roles in world football .

He told reporters as his official unveiling: “First of all I want to thank this institution, the president, [Eric] Abidal and Ramon [Planes] for the opportunity they have given me to come here.

“Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this, that I would be here.

“I am somebody who is very emotional and today is a very special day for me. But, first things first, I have to thank the club and the next thing is that I’m excited about this challenge and this project.

“Yesterday I was walking past the cows in my village, now I’m here training the best players in the world.”

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2019-20

Setien has already met with the star-studded squad that he will be working with and is expecting to have no problems in getting his message across to Lionel Messi and Co.

He added: “I have spoken with the players, we have had our first contact with one another and the willingness that they have is extraordinary.

“We’re absolutely sure that we’re going to understand each other very quickly because a lot of things that we are going to propose to them, they already know.

“There are many things we are clear about and we are going to try to transmit them and make sure they are not just words. The demands and standards of this club ask that of you constantly.”

Barca are considered to have turned to Setien as he is an admirer of the Johan Cruyff school of coaching.

He will be expected to preserve the ideals of an iconic side in Catalunya, with that cause set to be aided by the presence of world-class talent such as club captain Messi.

Setien said of working with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and the other high-profile figures now at his disposal: “I have enjoyed myself watching Barca and these players over the last few years.

“I’m still not entirely conscious of what it means to coach the best player in the world. One thing is admiration and another thing is that everyone has to be in their place.”


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