On Tuesday the Blaugrana had a triple-whammy of bad news, the most serious of which came when their best-ever player called out the sporting manager Quique Setien found it tough to believe he was walking into a club sitting top of La Liga. He’s starting to see why.
Other clubs have ‘banter eras’, where fans reconstruct the team’s gaffes within a decade or so into a funny Twitter thread. On Tuesday, Barcelona crammed tragedy after tragedy into one day.
The entrante – newcomer – was Ousmane Dembele’s injury. What on Monday seemed like a minor overload on his path to healing, 24 hours later was shown to be a “complete hamstring tear”.
It will keep the France winger out for the season, possibly ending his Barcelona career entirely, a story of wasted potential and broken dreams. However, the situation got worse with the ‘plato fuerte’ – dish.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s captain, talisman and best-ever participant, openly lashed out at sporting manager Eric Abidal, following his interview in Diario Sport where he tried to hand off the attribute for Ernesto Valverde’s sacking.
Abidal implied Valverde was axed in part because players were unhappy under the coach, and they weren’t placing a change in with him at the helm. “Many players were not pleased or working hard and there was also an internal communication problem,” stated Abidal.
The purpose of bringing club legend Abidal into this role in June 2018 was to help increase the connections between the board and the group. He was a participant the squad’s heavyweights played during his age as a defender, he’s young and he receives it. This was the idea anyway.
Abidal also said in the interview that the board was negotiating an extension to Messi’s contract and the club’s intention was to”make him happier”. He started off in the worst possible manner.
Soon after the interview was published, Messi took to Instagram to strike back. The social networking website is his weapon of choice; he followed Chelsea through the 2015 crisis that almost saw Luis Enrique sacked.
“Sincerely, I really don’t like to do these things but I think that people need to cause their tasks and own their conclusions,” Messi composed, together with an image of Abidal’s quote about the players not working hard.
It’s accurate, Messi often doesn’t announce publicly, and you have the feeling that this is something he’d been wanting to come out and state for a while. With his contract expiring in June 2021 but with a break clause in it that allows him to leave for free in the summer, the situation is a”powder keg”, as Marca composed on their front page on Wednesday morning.
“The players (are accountable) for what happens on the pitch and we’re the first to admit when we have not been great. The minds of the sports department need to take their responsibilities also and overall on the choices they make,” continued Messi.
“Eventually I think that if you talk about players, you must give names because otherwise, it makes everybody dirty and provides air to things which are said that is not correct.”
The team has ceased making a huddle before matches, something that they did under Valverde and Luis Enrique, but this isn’t a Setien decision, just something that they don’t feel like doing, highlighting fracture lines.
Some players felt that training was really too slack under Valverde and the team required to work a great deal harder. Others were totally comfortable.
There’s a risk he’ll overlook Barcelona’s Copa del Rey battle at Athletic Club that night. The bad news with Gerard Pique also poised to overlook the match with a little injury problem, though both have been named in Setien’s squad for the trip to Bilbao.
They’re comfortable in it nowadays.