Quique Setien Fired by Barcelona; Club to Hold Presidential Elections in March

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2020

Barcelona's Lionel Messi holds his head during the Champions League quarterfinal match between FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez/Pool)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Barcelona officially fired manager Quique Setien on Monday, calling it a "the first decision within a wider restructuring of the first team which will be agreed between the current technical secretary and the new coach, who will be announced in the coming days."

In a separate statement, the Catalan club announced that the board of directors "have agreed that the date for the next presidential elections will be the first matchday past March 15, 2021."

As if Barca supporters didn't receive enough news of upheaval on Monday, the club also announced that starting goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was undergoing surgery on the patellar tendon in his right knee. It's unclear what the timetable for his return will be.

It's also unclear what Barcelona will look like next season.

Setien, 61, lasted just seven months as the club's manager after Ernesto Valverde—winner of two consecutive La Liga titles coming into the year with Barca—was sacked. Valverde's undoing likely started with last season's failure to advance past the Champions League semifinals.

The last straw for Setien's tenure was assuredly the club's 8-2 loss against Bayern Munich on Friday in this year's UCL quarterfinals—the sort of embarrassing loss that a club of Barcelona's stature simply doesn't abide.

But Barcelona also finished the 2019-20 season devoid of silverware, finishing second in the league table and falling to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarters. That made Setien's dismissal inevitable.

As for his potential replacement Sid Lowe and Fabrizio Romano of The Guardian reported that Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman was being tipped to take over as manager. A major roster makeover could also occur.

Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague

By the way. Before 2-8 Setien was going to be sacked anyway. And elections were going to take place in spring. Same as the club has announced today Erm... Did 2-8 take place? And if so... Why has nothing else has happened? It should be a reason to raise your hand and go home

Koeman has also managed the Premier League's Southampton and Everton. But that won't prepare the longtime Barca defender/midfielder for stepping into one of the world's biggest clubs in a moment of crisis. If the Dutchman indeed is the club's next manager, his task will be a tall one.