Sports

Barcelona Fire Manager Quique Setien, But More Is Needed To Fix Their Problems

As widely expected, Barcelona have fired head coach Quique Setien following their humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals. Setien leaves the club after just eight months at the helm, and after a season in which Barcelona lost out on the La Liga title race, got eliminated from the Copa Del Rey in February and fell short in the Champions League for the fifth year in a row.

Setien was never the right choice for Barcelona, with his inexperience and gutless tactics, but the truth is Barcelona wouldn’t have returned to glory no matter who was giving orders on the sideline.

Setien was Barcelona’s fourth manager in six seasons; fans greeted, celebrated and then disgustedly called for the departures of Tata Martino, Luis Enrique, Ernesto Valverde and now the 61-year-old Setien. The club is rumored to go after ex-Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino, Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman or even Xavi, their former midfield maestro. But does it matter who comes next if Barcelona does not address the problems that permeate through every facet of the club, from the top down?

Barcelona’s humiliating crash out of the Champions League this year was not a surprise to anyone. The signs were there in Rome in 2018 and in Liverpool last year. The red flags waved even more strongly this season with losses to Granada, Levante and Osasuna, proving that Barcelona could no longer perform — whether it’s a cold night on the Spanish coast or under the bright lights of Europe. But the Board, whether out of sheer hubris or absolute idiocy, ignored all the signs. In five short (or long) years, they destroyed a club that was once the model of success around the world. And in doing so, they cruelly wasted precious years of Lionel Messi’s career.

Gerard Pique is right: after Friday’s loss to Bayern Munich, the veteran defender said the Catalan club had hit “rock bottom.” Poor transfer decisions as the club has spent 800 million euros on players since the 2015 transfer window on an aging roster full of players who don’t seem to be able to compete anymore, and deficient tactics have led to this point. If Barcelona is to return to the level and success of the years between 2008 and 2014 — a time when teams feared lining up against the Catalan giants and fans raved about the tiki taka style of play — then a complete overhaul must take place — and that starts with the removal of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has held the role since 2014.

With Bartomeu still in charge, it doesn’t really matter who the next manager is. This Barcelona is no longer the Barcelona of old. Under electrifying manager Pep Guardiola, the team flourished. Under Bartomeu, a corrupt and inept president, the club has collapsed.

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