After Bayern Munich thrashed Barcelona 8-2 on Friday to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the second time in three years, changes are now imminent at Barça – starting with head coach Quique Setién.
The humiliating loss concluded a disappointing season for Barcelona, one that had already included a coaching change and public disputes between several players and team officials. It is the first time since 2008 that the club finished a season without a significant title. It hasn’t lifted the European trophy since 2015.
Thomas Müller scored twice and Ivan Perišić and Serge Gnabry added on in Bayern’s stunning start to the quarter-final – before Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Philippe Coutinho (twice) piled on Barça’s misery in the second half.
Barcelona managed to get on the board only thanks to an own-goal by David Alaba in the first half. A goal by Luis Suárez in the second half gave some brief hope, but the team led by Lionel Messi was never really in contention.
Messi had reportedly told the directors of Barça that the team would be out of its depth in the European championship nearly 12 months ago, adding that they should have bought Neymar.
When Barcelona finally finished second to Real Madrid in La Liga last month, Messi had said that ‘teams who come at us with intensity find it easy’. His contract at Barcelona is up for renewal next June.
‘We have hit rock bottom,’ Barça star defender Gerard Piqué said after the match [see video in Tweet below], adding that the the club ‘needs change’. He said, ‘I’m not just talking about coaches and players, but something structural. If new blood needs to come in, and means I should move on, I would.’
Not only is the search for a new head coach already under way – but changes are also expected in the board room at Barcelona. The current mandate of the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, expires next year at the latest. He had abruptly sacked Ernesto Valverde who had secured La Liga title twice for Barcelona.
Setién had taken on the job of head coach only because Xavi, the former Barcelona captain and now coaching Al-Sadd in Qatar, had turned Bartomeu down.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 14, 2020