Barcelona president hints at changes after Bayern rout; Setien expected to go

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has indicated that there will be changes at the club after Friday night’s humiliating 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich. 

Bayern entered the Champions League quarterfinal in Lisbon as the favorites, but few could have predicted the thrashing it would dish out to the Catalans.

The result meant Barcelona ended the 2019-20 season without winning any trophies, which will not go down well with the club’s fans or leadership. 

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Bartomeu hinted at changes after watching his team be thrashed, saying that some decisions had even been made before the game.  

“It has been a very, very tough night. I am sorry for the Barca fans and members, for the players . . .  for everyone,”  Bartomeu told Movistar+. “We were not the club that we represent, I am so sorry.”

“There are some decisions that we had already made, and others that we will make over the next few days. Announcements will be made from next week, we need to make decisions after things have calmed down.

“Today is a day for reflection. Tomorrow we will try to raise our fans’ spirits following such a heavy defeat.

“It was a devastating result. I congratulate Bayern, they played a great game and deserved to go to the semifinals. We were not up to the occasion, and we can only apologize to the members and fans.”

One of those most likely to see their time at Barcelona end is head coach Quique Setien, who took over from Ernesto Valverde in January. Setien is widely expected to be sacked imminently, and Bartomeu did little to shut down that speculation.  

“I prefer not to say anything about the coach,” Bartomeu said. “Many decisions were already made before playing the Champions League, but today is not the day [to talk about them].”

Setien refused to comment on questions about his future after leading the Catalans to one of the worst defeats in their history. 

“Right now everything is too close to think about whether I will stay on or not, [future changes] won’t be up to me, we have to reflect on this properly, taking into account the situation and the importance of such a humiliating, painful defeat,” he told Movistar+.

Barca stalwart Gerard Pique was among the most critical of his side’s capitulation, going as far as to offer to step down from the team in order to make wholesale changes ahead of the coming 2020-21 season. 

“I won’t get into that. I’ve been here only six, eight months,” Setien said when asked about the defender’s outburst. “When someone like Gerard Pique makes this kind of comment, some of it must be true. 

“I don’t know, right now there is enormous frustration and all we can do is make our conclusions and decisions for the future. In a club of this size, this hurts a lot.”

Another name who could be on the way out is director of football Eric Abidal, who will reportedly be replaced two years after taking the role. 

Bartomeu himself could see his position called into question, as Barcelona prepares to hold presidential elections next year.

With Lionel Messi yet to sign a contract extension, he could force Bartomeu’s hand as the Argentine continues to be dissatisfied with the state of affairs at the club.

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