The collapse cost manager Quique Setien and technical director Eric Abidal their jobs. Attention has now shifted to the Barcelona board whose incompetent board spending of €250 milllion on Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho to replace Neymar, played a big role in the mess that Barcelona finds itself in today.
But club president Josep Bartomeu does not accept blame for the demise of the club that Cruyff and Pep built. Instead, Bartomeu places the blame at the feet of Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets.
They are the ones who have to leave, not the president, who said it would have been ‘irresponsible’ to quit forcing the elections that almost all supporters of the club want.
Bartomeu told the club’s in-house media:
‘Now it’s time to say goodbye to some of those players who have made us the best club in the world.
‘I don’t want to talk badly about anyone but we have to start sending some of them off with full honors.’
Full honors. That will be nice. Pique already has full honors of course. He has won everything possible in the game.
Suarez is the all-time third highest goalscorer in the club’s history and Sergio Busquets has been so good his position on the pitch now tends to carry his name.
It’s true that Busquets has wilted dramatically over the last 12 months and Suarez is the first to admit that he is in his final seasons and Pique said in his post-match interview after the Bayern debacle that he would go if people thought it best.
But to scapegoat them still seems pretty shameful.
‘This is not a social or an economic crisis it is a sporting one’, said the president pointing the finger clearly at the players.
‘There are certain players who know they are not going to continue. Give them free transfers? All the options are open,’ he said.
There is plenty of drama left in Barcelona’s summer and the Messi situation, for all that Bartomeu made assurances he was staying, is clearly not resolved.
Spanish radio Cadena Ser reported that Bartomeu had spoken to Messi’s father to tell him that Koeman wanted him in the team but that Messi’s father told Bartomeu that he needed to speak to his son face to face.
That meeting needs to happen soon. The new season starts in three weeks.