Barcelona (dpa) – The divorce of coach Quique Setién has long seemed a foregone conclusion, but in one of the biggest crises in the history of the club, FC Barcelona is mainly concerned with one question: what will become of Lionel Messi?
After the 8-2 defeat in the Champions League quarter-finals against FC Bayern, speculation about a possible farewell to the football superstar continues to develop. The 33-year-old had moved to the Pyrenees after the humiliation in Lisbon, writes the Argentinian sports newspaper “Olé”, and is considering whether he should turn his back on Barça after 20 years. That would be an “earthquake” for the club, writes the sports newspaper “Goal”.
Meanwhile, the club’s management met at Camp Nou in Barcelona on Monday to discuss the fallout from the top-flight debacle. The future of coach Setién was also on the agenda. Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu told broadcaster Cope that the 61-year-old’s divorce had already been decided and should be officially announced on Monday. The future of sports director Eric Abidal is also open, according to “Mundo Deportivo”. The importance of the crisis meeting also shows that despite Corona constraints, the executive committee must meet in person.
Brazilian broadcaster Esporte Interativo had previously reported that Messi had already informed the club of his desire to move. A confidant of Messi’s said he had never seen the Argentinian more determined to switch. According to “Mundo Deportivo”, FC Barcelona emphasized that they were not yet aware of the alleged change request. The denial does not sound very convincing.
The Daily Mirror wrote that Manchester City will do everything it can to bring in Messi. Messi had his most glamorous time at Barça under current city coach Pep Guardiola. The Argentinian felt deep pain at Bayern’s humiliation, the sports newspaper “Goal” wrote. He was going through one of the most difficult moments of his career. Messi is said to have dissatisfied with many decisions since the divorce from former trainer Ernesto Valverde at the beginning of the year. They have repeatedly warned internally that the goals could not be achieved.
For FC Barcelona, the question about Messi’s future is also about money, a lot of money. The top earner of the financially troubled club has a contract until the end of June 2021. This would be the club’s last chance to get a high transfer fee if the superstar were to be transferred.
The club must also clarify the coaching question. The Dutch national coach Ronald Koeman would be the new favorite to succeed the 61-year-old Setién. The chances of a commitment from former Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino, on the other hand, are decreasing due to the rejection of the fans, Spanish media said on Monday. Koeman (57) played for FC Barcelona from 1989 to 1995 and was Spanish champion with the Catalans four times and European Cup winner in 1992.