FC Barcelona have sacked Ernesto Valverde and replaced him with Quique Setien, who – as old quotes prove – is a die-hard Lionel Messi fan.
The Catalan giants announced their new coach in the early hours of Tuesday morning after the club's board decided to axe Valverde, despite the team currently sitting pretty in first place in LaLiga and lifting four titles during the former Athletic Bilbao boss' two and a half campaigns at the Camp Nou.
New coach Quique Setien, who was last in charge of Real Betis, has previously revealed his admiration for Messi.
"One day, invited by (former Barca manager Pep) Guardiola, I had the opportunity to watch Messi train from the side of the pitch," Setien once told El Pais, as quoted by Marca.
"I went up to him and I asked him to keep playing until I was 60 years old, at least until I die."
Now, a few months after turning 61, Setien will finally get a chance to coach Messi himself.
The Spaniard has also previously been asked if his new club's captain is a better player than the likes of Diego Maradona and Pele were.
"For me, in a big way, yes, at least in the period of football I've seen Messi," he told Marca.
"(Johan) Cruyff and Maradona were the greatest in the period in which I had idols.
"They influenced me because they did things you're never going to be able to do.
"Messi, though, has been the best every Sunday for more than 10 years. I don't know if Pele had the continuity of Messi."
Barcelona are the seventh club Setien has taken charge of, while he also had a brief three-month spell with the Equatorial Guinea national team in 2006. He is yet to lift a trophy as a manager, though.
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