Barcelona put faith in purist Setien after sacking Valverde

Ernesto Valverde could be on his way out of the Nou Camp

Ernesto Valverde could be on his way out of the Nou Camp

Barcelona lead the standings on 40 points, ahead of second-placed Real Madrid on goal difference.

Atletico Madrid knocked Barcelona out of the Spanish Super Cup Thursday in Saudi Arabia, sparking more rumors of Valverde's dismissal and replacement.

Quique Setien has said he is struggling to comprehend being handed the top job at Barcelona after spending Monday with the cows in his home village in the north of Spain.

Ahmad in tweet on his official Twitter page said the Blaugrana are "so ungrateful" for sacking Valverde after the 55-year-old won "two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and one Supercopa de Espana for the Camp Nou club".

Barca board members sounded out former midfielder Xavi while there were widespread reports that Mauricio Pochettino, Ronald Koeman and Massimiliano Allegri were also high on Barca's wish-list.

It remains to be seen if Setien will make his coaching debut over the weekend when Barcelona hosts Granada on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET - stream via fuboTV (Try for free). His contract runs until 2022 although there is a break clause in 2021, to allow for change after the club's presidential elections.

Barcelona-based newspaper Sport asks: "Who is Quique Setien, a man in love with Barca and Cruyff?" He's a coach who has shown through the teams that he has had that he has great skills.

Setien started his playing career with hometown club Racing Santander and would go on to appear over 350 times for them during two stints. He only remained with Atletico for three years, but won the Spanish Super Cup in his first term and also helped them qualify for the UEFA Cup. The first break for the experienced coach finally happened with Lugo, where he guided them to the Segunda Division and kept them there before departing for Las Palmas - who were in LaLiga - and leading them to survival. We'd spoken with Valverde many times, too.

Barcelona directors have been left in the dark over the removal of Ernesto Valverde, it has been revealed.

"It has been an intense two and a half years right from the start", Valverde said in a letter to Barcelona fans.

And while Cruyff's approach to the game focused on players having heightened spatial awareness on the pitch, that concept is applied to Setien's interests away from football, where he is a big chess fan - so much so that he has reportedly played games against grandmasters Garry Kasparov and Anatoli Karpov. The La Liga leaders return to Champions League play with a round of 16 matchup against Napoli Feb. 25 in Naples, Italy.

Russian hackers successfully targeted Ukrainian gas company Burisma
Selena Gomez revealed her poignant tattoo in commemoration of her kidney transplant