Barcelona’s 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo on Saturday looks like being costly both on and off the pitch. The result means the Catalans are now two points behind Real Madrid in the race for the title, while the relationship between the players and coaching staff looks to be deteriorating.
Indeed footage from Movistar has emerged that shows the current discord at the club. During the drinks break in the second half of Saturday’s match the Barcelona assistant coach, Eder Sarabia, tried to speak to Lionel Messi but was ignored by the captain.
Marca shared some pictures of the incident:
💔 Divorcio total: Messi ignora a Eder Sarabia en una pausa de hidratación 🔵🔴 https://t.co/n7TMq4rF2H Vía #ElPartidazoDeMovistar
— MARCA (@marca) June 28, 2020
Mundo Deportivo focused on Sarabia glaring after Messi, while defender Gerard Pique looked on in the background:
👀 Las cámaras de @MovistarFutbol recogieron las imágenes de lo que aconteció el sábado durante la segunda pausa de hidratación del Celta-Barça en Balaídos entre Leo Messi y Eder Sarabia https://t.co/yulbldPN4W
— Mundo Deportivo (@mundodeportivo) June 29, 2020
Barcelona were leading the game 2-1 at the time. However, they conceded a late equalizer to Iago Aspas from a free-kick. After the draw, the players confronted manager Quique Setien and blamed him for the result, according to Joan Poqui at Mundo Deportivo.
Growing Frustration at Barcelona
Barcelona has already endured a rollercoaster season on and off the pitch, and the bumpy ride looks set to continue for the remainder of the campaign.
Messi has already voiced his frustrations this season. The captain hit out at sporting director Eric Abidal in February and also defended his team-mates over accusations they were reluctant to take pay cuts at the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Team-mate Luis Suarez made his frustration clear after Saturday’s draw in his post-game interview. He was asked to comment about the team’s indifferent form away from home and said it was up to the coaching staff to figure out the problem.
“That’s what the coaches are for, to analyze why we lose important points away from home, something that did not happen to us in other seasons. Rivals must also be valued. Celta have high-quality players, they are a team that fights for salvation under the circumstances, but Iago Aspas’s free-kick shows the kind of players they have.”
Setien only arrived in January after Ernesto Valverde was sacked following defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup. The 61-year-old’s arrival was welcomed by supporters, who had become frustrated by Valverde’s style of play, but Setien is yet to transform the team.
What Next for Setien and Barcelona?
Barcelona handed Setien a contract until June 2022 when he arrived, but he will come under pressure if the club finish the season trophyless. The club have six games left to play in La Liga and will then finish their Champions League campaign in August.
There are already suggestions that Setien will not be in charge next season. Goal’s Ruben Uria has reported the Barcelona board has already decided he will not continue unless there is a “radical improvement” between now and the end of the campaign.
The report comes after club legend Xavi once again talked up a return to Barcelona.
“The biggest hope I have now is to be Barca coach and get Barca back to winning ways. Not me but these players and Barca triumphing. And as a consequence, our technical staff, who are preparing for it a lot and it makes us really excited.”
“I’m a club man. I would like to return at the right moment to start a project from zero. I’ve said it a lot of times but I want to take footballing decisions at Barcelona.”
Xavi turned Barcelona down in January, but it would not be a surprise if the club came calling again at the end of the season.
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