Barcelona players’ fractured relationship with coaching staff could push coach Quique Setién towards the exit door
- Barcelona players have a fractured relationship with manager
- Quique Setien looks likely to leave the club; Barca B manager lined up as replacement
Barcelona are in disarray. The Catalan club, heavily criticized for selling 23-year fan favourite Arthur to Juventus and getting a 30-year old Miralem Pjanic in return, are in news once again.
Reports are circulating that there is a fracture in the relationship between Barcelona's players and manager Quique Setien. A video went viral in which Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi was seen ignoring the instructions of Setien's assistant Eder Sarabia during a match against Celta Vigo.
Barcelona players irked with assistant's behaviour
This is not the first Sarabia has been caught in the eye of the storm. The 39-year old Barcelona assistant manager was seen admonishing his players during a match against Real Madrid. This action was not appreciated by the Barcelona players, with manager Setien having to apologize in the dressing room for Sarabia's behaviour.
The Spaniard seems to be a topic of heavy discussion among Barcelona players. Eder is the son of Manu Sarabia, a former footballer who played with Setien at Logrones. The junior Sarabia was invited by Setien to join him in 2015 at Las Palmas. Ever since then, Eder has been the assistant to the 61-year old Setien, first at Real Betis and now in Barcelona.
Sarabia is now caught in another controversy. Some of his old tweets from 2014-2015 have been retrieved, where he is seen praising Barcelona's arch-rivals Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo. These include terming the Portuguese superstar as the best goalscorer he had ever seen and the incredible level of the Real Madrid youth teams. He had also posted a tweet celebrating the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager in 2014.
Many Barcelona players are said to be unhappy with the behaviour of Sarabia. The Catalan club are second in the league table, two points behind leaders Real Madrid. Reports are now emerging that Setien has to win against Villarreal and Atletico Madrid if he wants to continue as Barcelona manager. Setien joined the Camp Nou outfit in 2020, replacing the sacked Ernesto Valverde. He signed a two-year contract with Barcelona.
Much was made by the press of Setien's obsession with Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff and his style of play. Real Betis, where the former midfielder made his name as a manager, played some attractive football, beating the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. So impressed was Barcelona player Sergio Busquets with Setien's Betis that he gave him a signed jersey appreciating his brand of football.
The appointment was Setien as Barcelona manager was seen a fairytale story. However, things have not gone according to plan, with the Spaniard looking likely to leave Camp Nou before the season ends. Barcelona have been linked with an audacious bid to bring back Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Other managerial options that have been touted include club legend Xavi, and Barcelona B manager Francisco Javier Garcia Pimienta. Pimienta just signed a new contract to continue as Barcelona B manager, and is currently the favourite to take over if Setien departs.
Published 30 Jun 2020, 16:18 IST