Valencia sack coach Celades, their sixth in six years

Valencia coach Albert Celades with Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane after Real's 3-0 La Liga win on June 18. Celades was sacked on Monday. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Valencia coach Albert Celades with Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane after Real's 3-0 La Liga win on June 18. Celades was sacked on Monday. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID • Valencia have dismissed coach Albert Celades and appointed long-standing club servant Voro Gonzalez until the end of the season, the Spanish La Liga club said in a statement on Monday.

Sporting director Cesar Sanchez then announced his resignation shortly after Celades was dismissed.

According to Spanish media, Sanchez decided to quit after telling the squad earlier in the day that Celades would remain in charge of today's game against Athletic Bilbao, only for the latter to be sacked hours later.

"The club wish to thank Albert Celades publicly for his work and dedication during his time at the club - a period in which we achieved qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League and important victories at grounds where we had previously not won," a club statement read.

"The club also value his help and contribution since he took over as coach of the first team in a moment of difficulty, and wish him every success in his future endeavours."

Celades, 44, is the sixth coach Valencia have sacked since the club was bought by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim in 2014 while Sanchez, who was appointed in January, is also the sixth sporting director to have left the role in the same period.

In total, Valencia have had 11 different coaches - including caretaker Voro - since Unai Emery left in 2012.

The club appointed Celades last September after taking the surprising decision to dispense with Marcelino, who had led the team to successive top-four finishes and ended an 11-year wait for a major trophy by guiding them to win the King's Cup.

Celades had never previously been a first-team coach at club level, building his reputation as Spain's Under-21 coach and as an assistant to Julen Lopetegui with the Spain senior side and Real Madrid.

He made a difficult start with Valencia, losing his first game in charge 5-2 to Barcelona. But he took the team into the last 16 of the Champions League, where they lost 8-4 on aggregate to Italy's Atalanta.

Pressure had mounted on Celades as the team's domestic form continued to decline.

He was let go after Sunday's 2-0 loss at Villarreal, which followed defeat by struggling Eibar and left the team eighth in the standings on 46 points, eight behind fourth-placed Sevilla with six games remaining.

 

Voro, a former Valencia player who has had a variety of roles at the club, steps into the position as caretaker coach for the sixth time.

According to the club statement, this will be "on a provisional basis through to the end of the present season". The 56-year-old first took charge of the team when Ronald Koeman was sacked in 2008 and steered them away from the relegation zone.

Spanish radio channel Onda Cero reported on Monday that former Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde, who coached Valencia in 2012-13, could be a candidate to replace Celades and is house-hunting in the city with his assistant Jon Aspiazu.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2020, with the headline 'Valencia sack coach Celades, their sixth in six years'. Print Edition | Subscribe