Barcelona Manager Ernesto Valverde Reportedly Considering Future at Club

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 23, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 21:  Ernesto Valverde, Manager of FC Barcelona looks on prior to the Spanish Copa del Rey Final match between Barcelona and Sevilla at Wanda Metropolitano on April 21, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is said to be considering his future at the Camp Nou after a lack of faith from the club's board. 

Santi Gimenez of AS wrote that Valverde has "privately admitted" to thinking about a departure from the club, fresh after beating Sevilla 5-0 to win the Copa del Rey on Saturday, his first trophy since taking charge at Barca.

Any indecision will have only intensified following a report from Mundo Deportivo on the eve of Saturday's final, per Gimenez, which said Barcelona's board had leaked that Valverde could be fired regardless of the Sevilla result.

The Guardian's Sid Lowe criticised the leak as "pitiful" from the Barca board, who could now find themselves at risk of alienating a manager who's on the verge of taking the club to a league and cup double:

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

To explain: *on morning of final*, story leaked from board saying Valverde could be sacked, solely guilty etc https://t.co/riFzlCCaNn

The UEFA Champions League exit to AS Roma is believed to be at the crux of their frustrations, Barca having won their quarter-final first leg 4-1 before losing the return match 3-0 in Rome to be knocked out in shock fashion.

That disappointment in the return fixture at the Stadio Olimpico is seen as a failing of Valverde's in player rotation, although the squad is believed to still have "full support" for their manager.

Valverde left Athletic Bilbao last summer to join Barcelona, where he won the Copa del Rey as a player in 1990.

The recent divide between club and manager is particularly surprising after Sky Sports' La Liga expert Guillem Balague attested to everything progressing so swimmingly in Catalonia prior to the reported leaks:

Sky Sports LaLiga @SkyRevista

.@GuillemBalague: “Valverde will be there next season and the club is happy with the way he has calmed things down. Who’s to say it hasn’t been a good season if they win the league and the cup? A very good season, in fact.” Full answer 👉 https://t.co/VWOlSMOKwD #AskGuillem https://t.co/6RaA7EpSST

Real Madrid's drop in standard this season has seen Barca run away with La Liga, and they are 12 points ahead of Atletico Madrid with an opportunity to confirm their place as champions if they beat Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

Goal's Ben Hayward joined those criticising the Blaugrana board for their recent acts, citing it as self-destructive in nature:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

Mundo Deportivo, with close links to the Barcelona board, published a story today saying Valverde's job is in doubt if they lose the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla tonight. Terrible timing. Honestly, Barça are their own worst enemy sometimes...

The Champions League departure clearly hit a sore spot with some of the club's hierarchy, which appears to have in turn led Valverde to question whether the Camp Nou is the right environment for him.

Had it not been for those disastrous 90 minutes in Rome, Barcelona might still be in the hunt for a treble, but it appears now that neither club nor manager are entirely content with their situation.