"I felt that football could be played better, but I didn't see how until Johan Cruyff showed us," these were the words of FC Barcelona newly appointed manager Quique Setien on March 25, 2016, on his Twitter post.
Yo sentía que se podía jugar mejor al fútbol, pero no lo vi hasta que Johan nos lo enseñó.— Quique Setien (@QSetien) March 24, 2016
On Tuesday, defending La Liga Champions sacked Ernesto Valverde after defeat against Atletico Madrid in Super Spanish Cup. While everybody expected of former Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez to replace Valverde, the Catalan giants chose Setien to take over. It was after 17 years when Barcelona sacked their manager midseason. The last was Louis van Gaal, who left the club in January 2003.
Quique Setien might not be a big name in world football, but his ideology of football is just what Barcelona want - the same Johan Cruyff style of play. As a coach, Setien has a rich experience of managing Racing Santander, Poli Ejido, Logroñés, Lugo, Las Palmas and Real Betis. In fact, Setien's Betis was the last team to beat Barcelona at home in 2018 by 4-3. At a place (Camp Nou) where teams had a tough time to score even two goals, Seiten aggressive approach made things difficult for Lionel Messi's Barcelona.
Setién, who used to be a midfielder for Atlético Madrid, is known for setting up teams that often mimicked Barcelona’s attacking-minded style. In the past few years, under the spell of Valverde, Barcelona were humiliated on several occasions - 2017-18 UCL semifinal against Roma, after winning the first tie by 4-1 at home, the Catalan giants were put down in Rome by 3-0. The curse continued the next season in 2018-19 when Liverpool came back from 0-3 loss after the first tie to 4-0 win at Anfield.
With Setien in charge, Barcelona have a good chance to get back to their old-attacking days, which they used to play under Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique. Seiten got the major limelight when he was the manager of CD Lugo during 2009-15, where he led the club to tier 1 in his third year. Later with Betis(2017-19), he finished at the sixth spot in his first year with an average squad.
As a player, Setien was a promising midfielder for Racing Santander, where he spent eight years – amassing 205 appearances and scoring 43 goals. Later he got big breaks in clubs like Atletico Madrid and Levante.
Setien was always a huge admirer of Barcelona as he told The Coaches Voice in 2019 that "You played against them, and you spent the whole match running after the ball. I said to myself: ‘This is what I like. I would like to be in this team, and know why this is happening.’
"How can you get a team to have the ball permanently so that the opponent is running after it for the whole match?
"From then on, I started to make sense of what I had felt throughout life, through my career," he added
"I started to really watch football. To analyse it. To understand what I felt, and what I wanted to put into practice when I became a coach," Seiten emphasized."
Seiten also praised Barcelona talisman Messi on various occasions as he once said "a luxury and the best player in history," about the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.
With Seiten in charge, the focus will be on players like Frenkie de Jong and Arthur Melo, who completely suit his style and pace of football.