By Joe Strange for MailOnline
Published: 22:16 GMT, 13 January 2020 | Updated: 22:26 GMT, 13 January 2020
Barcelona have sacked manager Ernesto Valverde despite the club sitting top of La Liga at the halfway point of the season, with Quique Setien the front-runner to succeed him.
The shock decision comes in the wake of last week's Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid, in which Barca threw away a lead late on to lose 3-2.
That result accelerated a move for club legend Xavi to replace Valverde, but after their former midfielder turned down a return to the Nou Camp, they are now poised to appoint Setien, ahead of a potential move for Mauricio Pochettino.
Ernesto Valverde leaves Barcelona's Joan Gamper training ground on Monday afternoon
Former Real Betis manager Quique Setien has emerged as a shock front-runner for the role
Betis hired Setien at the start of the 2017-18 campaign and he led them to a 6th-place finish
Joined: May, 2017
Honours: La Liga (2017-18, 2018-19), Copa del Rey (2017-18), Spanish Super Cup (2018)
Lost: 16sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and directors Javier Bordas, Oscar Grau and