Just a couple of months ago, and after learning his trade away from the bright lights that working with Barcelona brings, Victor Valdes accepted an offer from the Blaugrana to return.
The former first team goalkeeper became the coach of the U19A team, and with moves then afoot to also recruit his old team-mate, Carles Puyol, it looked like there was a concerted effort from the higher-ups to ‘get the band back together.’
Since then, things have started to unravel.Puyol turned down the role offered to him, suggesting that the time wasn’t right. It’s known that he, along with another former team-mate, Xavi, are giving their support to Victor Font’s candidacy for president when the 2021 elections are due.
To that end, it’s not difficult to understand Puyol’s reluctance to distance himself from Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board, a board that many of the current players have been at odds with ever since Joan Laporta was ousted from the presidency in 2010.
Now, Valdes finds himself on the verge of being sacked because of the outspoken nature that Barca knew he had before inviting him back into the fold.
His initial ire with the board was down to a lack of playing time at the newly built Johan Cruyff Stadium. The U19A side played just their second match there in midweek, a loss to Inter, after opening the stadium with a loss against Ajax back in August.
With Valdes having informed his players that he won’t be travelling with them this weekend, it’s believed because of a fall out with academy director, Patrick Kluivert, the axe appears destined to fall early next week.
Clearly, this isn’t a situation that the club expected to find itself in so soon after hiring Valdes, but it’s another decision that hints at the disorganisation and bad feeling behind the scenes.
Only recently did the Barcelona first team players let it be known that they believed the board had placed certain information in the hands of journalists to discredit them – and they weren’t prepared to put up with it.
It’s a civil war that threatens to undermine Barca’s season before it’s had the chance to really get going… and with the Valdes fiasco just the latest to rear its ugly head, things show no sign of abating anytime soon.
It’s understood that Bartomeu has wanted to leave his position for some while now, but the lack of another treble has meant he hasn’t found himself in the position he desired in order to be able to foist his preferred candidate onto voters, and who would continue his work.
Valdes won’t keep quiet if he’s ousted, and that will only discredit the president further. What a mess!