Quique Setien summoned captain Lionel Messi for a meeting after Barcelona’s 2-1 defeat to Osasuna that saw Real Madrid crowned Spanish champions for 2019-20.
Messi hit out at his team after the defeat for their poor performances this season with comments that started to “shake all the foundations of Barcelona” and ultimately led Setien to approach the Argentina international with the message “we have to talk,” according to Mundo Deportivo’s Miguel Rico.
The defeat prompted plenty of speculation about Setien’s future, but the coach knew he had president Josep Maria Bartomeu’s backing. Therefore, he approached his captain after training and proposed a meeting. The two men met alone in a bid to clear the air and look to the future.
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Barcelona Produce Good Response
The conversation appears to have had a beneficial effect. Barcelona ran out 5-0 winners in their final match of the season at Alaves, with a relaxed Messi scoring twice and picking up an assist.
Messi spoke to the media again after the match, but this time his comments were much softer. He also praised his team for the improvements they had made.
“Today was a very different game because of the situation we were in. The team responded with attitude and commitment. It was an important step forwards for what comes which will be difficult but which is important to us.
“It hasn’t been a great season in terms of play or results, but we have taken an important step in terms of attitude and commitment which has to be the first thing, other things can follow from that. We have to go out with the same attitude or even more.”
Setien also spoke after the game about Messi. He insisted he feels supported by the 33-year-old and has a good relationship with his captain.
The coach also admitted there had been talks: “We’ve spoken and we’ve cleared up a few things.”
What Next for Setien and Barcelona
Yet Barcelona’s failure to retain their La Liga title means there is still plenty of speculation flying about regarding Setien’s future. Indeed the Barcelona players would be happy to have former striker Patrick Kluivert in charge, according to Cristina Cubero at Mundo Deportivo.
Meanwhile, former Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc is also emerging as a possible option. The Frenchman played for Barcelona during his career and would be willing to take charge for a season until Xavi can take the role, according to Lluis Miguelsanz at Sport.
Setien has given Barcelona the week off following the culmination of the league season to recharge their batteries ahead of the return of the Champions League in August. Yet he will know that his team’s performances in Europe’s top competition are likely to be a factor in how long the 61-year-old remains in charge at the Camp Nou.
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