Emotional Setien surprised to be given dream job at Barcelona

Quique Setien with FC Barcelona’s President Josep Maria Bartomeu, center, and director of football Eric Abidal, right, after being introduced as the club’s new coach at the Camp Nou stadium. (AP Photo)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Emotional Setien surprised to be given dream job at Barcelona

  • Setien was unveiled at a press conference at the Camp Nou after the club’s announcement that he would replace the sacked Ernesto Valverde
  • Setien takes charge after an impressive spell at Real Betis, which ended last summer, and with Barcelona top of La Liga

BARCELONA: Quique Setien said on Tuesday that being appointed Barcelona coach was beyond his “wildest dreams” and has vowed to stay true to his beliefs in exciting, attacking football.
Setien was unveiled at a press conference at the Camp Nou, after the club’s announcement late on Monday that he would replace the sacked Ernesto Valverde.
“Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being here, I am quite an emotional person and today is a special day for me,” Setien said after signing his contract in front of the media.
“Yesterday I was walking past cows in my village and today I am at Barca, coaching the best players in the world. This is the pinnacle for me.”
Sitting alongside Setien was club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting director Eric Abidal.
Bartomeu admitted the dismissal of Valverde should have been handled better and also revealed Setien’s contract until June 2022 contains a break clause. It means Setien can be removed in 2021 after the club’s presidential elections.
Setien takes charge after an impressive spell at Real Betis, which ended last summer, and with Barcelona top of La Liga.
A former player for Atletico Madrid and Racing Santander, Setien once said he would cut off his little finger to have played under Johan Cruyff. As a coach, he has dedicated his career to a possesion-based style that has earned him a reputation as a purist.
“I didn’t need even five minutes to accept the job,” said Setien. “I never thought Barca would go for me. I don’t have a glittering CV or many titles but I have demonstrated even before being a coach that I love a certain philosophy.
“And all I have done is ensure my previous teams have all played good football. I don’t know if that was enough to earn me this opportunity but I am grateful for it, nothing else.”
Setien added: “I am a person with clear convictions. I have very clear ideas. I listen to everyone but I am the first to defend what I believe. If we have to die with our ideas, we will die with them because Barca has to follow its path.”
Setien will be without Luis Suarez, who will need four months to recover from a knee injury, but he has Lionel Messi, who has scored 16 goals in 20 games this season.
“To start coaching the best player in the world and the players around him, I’m still not sure what that means,” said Setien.
“I have talked to him and some others and I have already told him about the admiration I feel for him.”
Valverde won La Liga in each of his two seasons in charge but Bartomeu said the club needed a boost.
“We knew the dynamic was not the best even if the results were very good,” said Bartomeu. “We have made the change now because we are in the middle of the season and we needed a boost. With this new dynamic we want to win the league, the Champions League and the cup.”
Barcelona have been accused of a lack of respect for Valverde after their seach for a replacement, including offering the job to Xavi Hernandez, was widely reported over the weekend.
“Of course I wish things had been done differently,” Bartomeu said. “But in recent weeks and months we have spoken to other coaches, it’s always like that, and nothing has come out.”


Moukoko could become youngest Champions League player

Updated 24 November 2020

Moukoko could become youngest Champions League player

  • The 16-year-old Cameroonian has been training regularly with the Dortmund first team since August

DORTMUND: Borussia Dortmund forward Youssoufa Moukoko could become the youngest player ever in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Dortmund said Monday that Moukoko was added to the squad for the home match against Belgian club Brugge.

Moukoko broke the Bundesliga record on Saturday when he made his debut for Dortmund on the day after his 16th birthday. Moukoko came off the bench in the 5-2 victory over Hertha Berlin.

If he plays on Tuesday, Moukoko would break the Champions League record held by Celestine Babayaro. The Nigerian left back was 16 years, 87 days old when he played for Belgian club Anderlecht in the group stage in 1994.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said he was eager to rotate the team to cope with a busy schedule but didn’t commit to giving Moukoko any game time.

“It’s hard to say and to answer immediately. We will see today in training and we have a lot (of players) up front,” Favre said. “We have a lot of options up front and we will see.”

Moukoko scored 13 goals in four games for Dortmund’s under-19 team this season and 34 in 20 games last season. He has been training regularly with the first team since August.

Moukoko was born in Cameroon but moved to Germany as a child and has played for German youth national teams.

Dortmund are in first place in Group F of the Champions League and will be on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages with a win over Brugge. Dortmund beat the Belgian team 3-0 earlier this month.

Dortmund said Monday that attacking midfielder Reinier had tested positive for the coronavirus. Dortmund said Reinier is in isolation at home and is not showing symptoms. He is on loan from Real Madrid.

Reinier most recently played for the Brazilian under-23 national team in two friendlies in Egypt during the last international break. He wasn’t in the Dortmund squad for the 5-2 Bundesliga victory over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.