Quique Setien: the head of Barcelona could not have imagined a new job ‘in the wildest dreams’

Quique Setien (center) with Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu (left) and sports director Eric Abidal (right)

Quique Setien says he could not imagine becoming the manager of Barcelona “in his wildest dreams”.

The former Real Betis coach, Setien, 61, was appointed head of Barça on Monday after the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde.

Setien, who signed a two and a half year contract, led Betis to her best result since 2005 and to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey before leaving in May.

“I want to thank this institution for giving me the opportunity,” said the Spaniard at his first press conference.

“Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this. I have to thank the club. I’m excited about this challenge and this project.”

He added: “Yesterday, I was walking through my hometown with cows around me and now I am here in Barcelona driving the best players in the world.”

After managing teams from the lower league, Setien led Las Palmas to 11th place in La Liga, his best final for 40 years, and enjoyed greater success at Betis, where in his first season he took them to sixth place and Europa League qualification.

Betis also secured victories over Barça, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid during his two-year term, and left the club by mutual agreement in the summer.

Barcelona leads the League by goal difference and has won four of the last five league titles.

“I thank Ernesto Valverde for leaving me with a team that is the best in the league,” he said.

“My goal is to win everything! Everything you can win, this club has no other way to go.

“Year after year, to win as many trophies as possible. I think the best way to achieve victory is to play good football. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s not just one day, it’s about keeping it going.”

Setien said earlier that he would cry when Barça and Argentina striker Lionel Messi retires.

“I said it about many players,” he said. “I have enjoyed watching Barcelona for several years, watching them on television.

“In order to manage the best in the world, and his teammates, he has excellent teammates, I have talked to him and others.

“I’ve always said that admiration is one thing, but the reality is different. Everyone needs to have their place. Messi is Messi, Busquets is Busquets.”

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