BARCELONA star Lionel Messi has taken to Instagram to share a heart-warming tribute to his former manager Ernesto Valverde, who was sacked by the club last week.
Sharing two images of the pair side by side on the training ground, Messi thanked Valverde ‘for everything’ and described the Spaniard as a ‘magnificent person’.
A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)
The Argentine tipped Valverde for success in his future endeavours, writing: ‘Thank you for everything, I'm sure you'll do great wherever you go because besides being a great professional you are a magnificent person.
'Good luck and a big hug.'
Luiz Suarez was quick to follow suit, taking to Twitter to release a statement saying: "Thank you very much mister for all the moments we live as professionals. I keep the positive thing you taught me and the great human being you are. Thanks to you and all your STAFF for the professionalism. I wish you good luck in everything that comes for the future!"
Valverde’s position as Barcelona’s head coach was terminated after losing to Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia last week, despite sitting top of the LaLiga table on goal difference and previously helping the club to two successive LaLiga titles.
Valverde was the first Barca boss in 17 year to have been sacked mid-season.
Regardless of his dismissal, the Spaniard wished his successor Quique Setien all the luck in the world.
In a statement on Tuesday, the 55-year-old said:"My time as Barcelona coach has come to an end. It has been an intense two and a half year’s right from the start,’
"In that time I have enjoyed some joyful moments celebrating victories and trophies but also others that have been tough and difficult. However, above all I would like to highlight my experience with the fans and the affection showed towards me during my time as coach.
"I would like to thank the president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the board of directors for giving me the opportunity to coach the first team and their confidence during all this time.
"I would also like to thank all the people I have worked with at the club for their support and how they treated me during the two and a half seasons, especially those who work in and around the first team and with whom I have shared so many moments at the Ciutat Esportiva and during away trips.
"Of course, I would like to thank the players for all their efforts that have allowed us to claim four trophies together. From this day, I wish them all the luck in the world and to the new coach Quique Setien also."
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It is thought the reason Valverde’s removal came from the clubs desire to change the teams playing style. With Valverde coming under scrutiny from Barcelona fans for his tactics, the club have opted for Setien, who favours a passing style of play, to lead the team through their transformation.
In a statement released by the club after the termination of Valverde’s contract, they thanked him for his commitment and professionalism during his time within the role.
"We want to thank Valverde for his professionalism, his commitment, his dedication and his always positive treatment towards all that make up the Barca family".
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