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Bartomeu stakes legacy on Valverde

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The president’s meeting with the coach went very well, according to reports

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Josep Maria Bartomeu is staking his legacy on a beleaguered manager whom he has a keen bond with, Ernesto Valverde. The FC Barcelona president gave a vote of confidence to his coach despite a disastrous end to a promising season. Now, reports say the two have met and shown a “great understanding” between them.

Diario SPORT reports the two discussed the plans for next season, in particular the role of the transfer market. The coach and the president have a good relationship, probably even more so after Bartomeu personally stepped in to retain Valverde when many on the board reportedly were ready to fire him.

Bartomeu was in charge when FC Barcelona won the treble in 2015, but he has faced challenges to his rule thanks to tumultuous times since. Since 2015, Barça has dominated domestic competitions but faltered in the UEFA Champions League.

The club president cannot run for reelection due to club statutes, but his legacy, and perhaps the electoral possibilities of whoever he deems his successor, are in play. Bartomeu has taken a big risk with protecting the manager. Another bad showing in next year’s Champions League would probably destroy his legacy. However, if things go differently, perhaps people will call him a visionary.