‘It all began with Atleti,’ we could say, paraphrasing Piqué. Barça lost to the rojiblancos in the Super Cup semi, and it'd be fair to say that it was in incredible circumstances. I don't really have to say much more as we all saw what happened. But that result sealed the fate of Valverde, as the clique that controls Barça's dressing room began to bore. The excitement for everyone then was that Xavi would come in to replace him, but he declined. Then they tried for Koeman, but couldn’t get him either. And, for obvious reasons, it couldn’t be Pochettino. Then Setién appeared, bored on a dairy farm, and with a reputation of being able to cultivate tiki-taka.
Messi and Piqué had enough of Sarabia
Back then, and still now, Barça have depended on Messi's drive. Setién brought with him a football-dullness, made obvious from that very first game of a thousand passes, and with the unacceptable sidekick, Eder Sarabia, son of the excellent footballer, who clashed with Clemente. The offspring is an unpleasant buffoon who Setién takes along with him from here to there as if a dragging an iron ball attached to his ankle by a chain. On Sunday night we saw some conclusive images on Spanish TV, as Messi, Rakitic and Piqué looked down on him during the down time. Even for us who have no sympathy for Sarabia, it was difficult to watch.
Atleti with bugles visit a depressed Barça
In the background, Setien looked on with the face of a man who can see his own funeral. This is the state Barça find themselves as they prepare to welcome an Atlético who are firing on all cylinders, restored to third place in the table, and eyeing the Champions League dream, with just three games to win. They will be without Savic and Koke, but I’m not convinced that’s enough to give the opposition much positivity, as Llorente's starring role has seen him shake things up in the attack. Atlético arrive to the sound of bugles blaring, as a depressed Barça await, contemplating García Pimienta, coach of the Segunda B side, as a new sticking plaster to place in the dugout. But, as always, the last word will be that of Messi, both on and off the field.