Ernesto Valverde has bid a classy farewell to Barcelona, with a man who delivered back-to-back La Liga titles at Camp Nou wishing his successor Quique Setien well in the most demanding of roles.
At the end of a drawn-out process, which saw his future speculated on for some time, a proven winner has been removed from his role in the dugout with the Catalan giants.
With the decision taken to part with Valverde, the Blaugrana have passed their managerial reins on to former Real Betis boss Setien.
He is considered to fit the mould when it comes to embracing the philosophies of Johan Cruyff’s school of coaching.
Valverde did his best to stick to those principles following his appointment in 2017 and guided Lionel Messi and Co to four major trophies during his time at the helm.
Barca remain in contention for more silverware this season, as they sit top of the Liga table and through to the last 16 of the Champions League, but a first sacking in 17 years has been overseen.
Valverde could be forgiven for feeling a little hard done by, but the 55-year-old is walking away with his head held high and with great pride taken in what he achieved.
In an open letter to Barcelona supporters posted on the club’s official website, Valverde said: “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.
“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.
“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.
“Visca Barca and Visca Catalonia.”
Barcelona’s first outing under Setien will see them take in a home date with Granada on Sunday, while it remains to be seen what the future holds for Valverde now that he is back on the coaching market.
He has received plenty of messages of support, with Luis Suarez among the latest to pass on his well wishes.
The Uruguayan striker has thanked Valverde and his staff for all of their hard work and paid homage to the professionalism they displayed throughout an eventful tenure.