Barcelona just can’t stay out of the headlines for a minute, can they?
One minute they’re throwing their La Liga title away and swapping Arthur Melo for Miralem Pjanic, the next they’re shipping eight goals to Bayern Munich, and their immortal captain wants to leave.
All is rarely as it seems. When the reports came out on Sunday claiming that Lionel Messi has had enough of Barcelona and was not prepared to see out the remainder of his contract, it seemed strange to say the least. Now, Barça are claiming that it is utter nonsense.
SPORT single out the quotes from Brazilian journalist Marcelo Bechler, who found himself at the eye of the storm, and note that Barcelona have ‘categorically denied’ the claims that Messi is determined to leave this summer.
It’s said that there have been no conversations with Messi about a desire to leave the club with which he has spent his entire professional career. SPORT helpfully note that he has a €700m release clause in his contract which expires next year.
A reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City was touted should he decide to leave after all.
Well, this one won’t come as a surprise, will it?
After yielding the league title to Real Madrid, shipping eight to Bayern, and finishing the season without a trophy, it did only seem like a matter of time before Barça cut all ties with Quique Setien.
Now it seems that is a step closer to becoming a reality. Following a meeting with sporting director Eric Abidal, president Josep Bartomeu is reported to have told COPE Radio’s Victor Navarro that ‘Setien is out.’
You have to feel for Setien, who was fed to the wolves from day one at Camp Nou, but it really was just a matter of time.
Yeah, the same Ronald Koeman who was dismissed by relegation-threatened Everton less than three years ago looks as if he will be Barcelona manager next season.
The Dutchman was reported on Sunday to be lined up as Setien’s replacement and things look to be moving fast. El Chiringuito – those rascals – pictured him arriving at Barcelona airport…presumably for talks with the club over taking the reins.
Marca previously reported that he is the favourite after Barça directors decided against Mauricio Pochttino, whose past with rivals Espanyol did not stand him in good stead.
Koeman, who won four league titles and a European Cup with Barcelona as a player, has restored his managerial reputation since being appointed as the Netherlands’ head coach in 2018. He would have taken them to Euro 2020, had the tournament not been postponed due to COVID-19.