On Tuesday, the Catalans had a series of bad news, the most devastating one came when their greatest player criticised and challenged the sporting director in public.
Quique Setien finds it hard to believe that he is the Blaugrana’s Head Coach. NOW he realises why. He was hired in a unique position. Barcelona were leading the league, had safe passage to the Champion’s league next round and were involved in the domestic cup as well. Now Barca have surrendered their lead in the league, been knocked out of the Copa Del Rey and the champions league tie against Napoli seems like anyone’s game right now.
The first blow came as Ousmane Dembele’s minor injury turned out to be a complete hamstring tear. This ends his season and potentially ends his Barcelona career as well. Tales of promise and broken dreams will be told.
The major blow when their soft spoken magician publicly denounced Eric Abidal, the Sporting Director and asked him to take responsibility instead of blaming others. This act becomes even more serious as Messi has a clause in his contract which will allow him to leave for free. Man City and PSG are already circling. Abidal was brought in to ease communications and build relationships between the players and the board. But tensions have risen and there is a communication breakdown between the players and the management. Josep Maria Bartomeu, President of Barcelona has reached out to Messi and tried to cool the situation. Abidal may get an entirely different treatment.
Problems are not only at the board level. Player unity in Barca has crumbled. There was a scrap between two players in training last week. There are no team huddles anymore further highlighting the discord in the team.
Quique Setien has said that he is in a dream right now. He must realise that it is a nightmare instead, the one he must wake Barcelona from.