The La Liga title has gone for another season for FC Barcelona, and whether that’s Quique Setien’s fault or not is a moot point.
It’s true that in the space of 10 games Barca have seen a nine point swing in favour of Real Madrid, and that was never going to endear him to the faithful. However, the seeds had been sown long before Setien’s arrival.
If anything, he just hasn’t made the impact expected.Things started relatively well for the Cantabrian. His enjoyment of involving himself in the rondo was a little too familiar, but at least he had everyone smiling.
Given how toxic the environment at the club had become beforehand, that was something at least.
However, things quickly turned sour and leaked tales of dressing room unrest soon followed.
The TV pictures of Leo Messi completely ignoring Setien at a drinks break in a recent game told outsiders everything they needed to know about who is really in charge at the Camp Nou.
So where does that leave the coach?
President Josep Maria Bartomeu has already said that he will make sure Setien will fulfill his contract and still be in charge of the first team for the entirety of the 2020/21 season.
It’s fairly clear that the supporters won’t be too impressed because Barcelona have looked like anything but the title contenders over the last few weeks, and a summer break isn’t going to change that.
It might be anathema to what he wants to do in his final season as president, but Bartomeu needs to really shake things up behind the scenes. Again.
The problem he has of course is that Xavi won’t return until Bartomeu is removed, and Ronald Koeman is unlikely to take the reins at the club knowing that within a year, any new presidential incumbent might well relieve him of the position.
Therefore, for any number of reasons, it would appear that Barca are stuck with Setien until this time next year, and by then the Catalans could’ve fallen so far behind their traditional style that even Xavi could have trouble resurrecting it.
It’s a sorry state of affairs all round, and in many respects Setien was parachuted in and was always going to be the fall guy if things didn’t go well.
For someone who was so well thought of when in charge of Real Betis, his reputation has taken a battering and he’ll not get another top job again after this.