The Barca star has joined team-mate Luis Suarez in thanking the manager and wishing him good luck for the future

Lionel Messi has wished Ernesto Valverde luck for the future after the coach left Barcelona, calling his former boss a “top professional and top person.”

Barca, following a defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana, decided to part ways with Valverde on Monday, with Quique Setien swiftly named as his replacement .

Former Athletic Bilbao boss Valverde took over Barca in 2017 and guided the club to successive La Liga titles plus a Copa del Rey success.

However, a dramatic capitulation to Liverpool in last season’s Champions League semi-finals, followed by a defeat to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final, put Valverde under scrutiny and, despite being top of La Liga, Barca fired the coach after missing out on another title in the form of the Supercopa.

Messi, who scored 112 goals in all competitions under Valverde, has now given his thanks to the Spaniard, who the forward is confident will thrive in his next job.

“Thanks for everything, gaffer,” Messi posted to his official Instagram account on Tuesday.

“I’m sure everything will go well for you wherever you go because, as well as being a top professional, you’re also a top person. Good luck and a big hug.”

Setien oversaw training on Tuesday before being presented to the media, with the former Real Betis coach taking charge of his first La Liga match as Barca coach against Granada on Sunday.

The 61-year-old admitted at his presentation that he was still in some disbelief about being handed one of the top jobs in world football. 

“Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this, that I would be here,” Setien said.

“I am somebody who is very emotional and today is a very special day for me. But, first things first, I have to thank the club and the next thing is that I’m excited about this challenge and this project.

“Yesterday I was walking past the cows in my village, now I’m here training the best players in the world.”

Valverde himself has wished Setien luck in a farewell message posted on Barcelona’s official website. 

“Of course, I would like to thank the players for all their efforts that have allowed us to claim four trophies together,” Valverde said.

“From this day, I wish them all the luck in the world and to the new coach Quique Setien also.”


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