New Barcelona manager Quique Setien said that taking over as the club’s new coach was beyond his ‘wildest dreams’ when he was presented at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
The 61-year-old said: ‘Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being here. Yesterday I was walking past the cows in my village, now I’m here training the best players in the world.’
Asked about coaching Lionel Messi, who he has publicly praised many times before, the former Betis and Las Palmas coach added: ‘I have enjoyed the last 12 years sat in front of the television watching him and these players who have made football so enjoyable to watch and it has been every day, every match.
‘And to now become the coach of the best player in the world I am still not completely conscious of what this means.
‘But we have spoken and one thing is the admiration and another is that now I have a series of players who have to be in their right place. I’m sure it’s going to be a good relationship with all the players.’
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 14, 2020
Setien also spoke about his predecessor Ernesto Valverde. ‘I have always had a good relationship with Valverde and I will try to put myself in contact with him,’ he said.
‘There are so many things from that we will use and then put our own stamp on. He is leaving me a team that is top of the table. [When I was out of work] I thought I would take over a team in trouble, it’s not normal that you take over a team at the top of the table.’
Barcelona Sporting Director Eric Abidal also referred to Valverde but with thinly veiled criticism of the way he had failed to beat Liverpool last season and how he lost the Copa del Rey final against Valencia.
Abidal said: ‘I remember from my playing days that to win the Cup or the Champions League the details are important and he [Setien] is always on top of the details.’
Setien, 61, took training on Tuesday morning before signing a contract until June 2022.
‘I’m excited about this challenge and this project,’ he added. ‘That is the biggest thing I have to transmit to the players. I have to show the players that and normally it’s not very complicated for me to transmit that.’
Valverde was dismissed despite Barcelona being top of LaLiga and in the last-16 of the Champions League.
Barcelona are still competing on three fronts and given the upheaval of changing manager mid season, the former Real Betis boss is determined to ‘try and win everything’.