Lionel Messi and Barcelona are not having the best time this season. The legendary Spanish soccer team just lost La Liga to arch-rivals Real Madrid and were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao.
The only winnable competition left for the current season is the Champions League, and they have to take on Italian giants Napoli on August 8 in the last 16 round. Manager Quique Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde in January, is being blamed for the problems that the club is facing.
Setien was not able to put a winning system in place to get the best out of his players like French superstar Antoine Griezmann or even rising sensation Ansu Fati. Barcelona are reportedly looking at hiring a new manager who must be approved by Messi.
According to reports, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is thinking of Dutch icon and Barcelona legend Patrick Kluivert as a possible replacement for Setien. A decision will be made either way in the upcoming days, and the current manager has already said that he will not resign.
Kluivert, who scored 122 goals for the team between 1998 and 2004, is Barcelona’s academy director at the moment. Some in Barcelona see Kluivert as their own version of French icon Zinedine Zidane, who found a lot of success in Madrid as a manager after playing there for a few years.
Kluivert knows the club’s values and has a lot of decent relationships with players and staff. According to rumors, the players want him to take the job as soon as possible in order to be ready for the Napoli challenge.
However, he still has a lot to prove as a manager. He was not a huge success as director of football for French club Paris Saint-Germain or as Clarence Seedorf‘s assistant at the Cameroon national football team.
One fan shared this point after hearing the Kluivert news: “Barcelona style doesn’t work anymore! Top teams: strong defense, solid mid, fast attack. All of this, Barcelona don’t have!”
A second person chimed in: “Because it has to be from the players, it has to be for the benefit of the club, Barcelona is bigger than a player, make no mistake that they give you given titles, it does not mean that they do and undo as you like, the club is above all technical players or coach Barcelona has to go back to his roots.”
Messi alluded to the situation this week after a loss at home against Osasuna. He stated: “We didn’t expect to finish in this way, but it sums up the year for us. We have been an erratic and weak team, who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm. We have lost a lot of points which we shouldn’t have done and been very inconsistent.”
He continued: “We need to be self-critical, starting with the players but also across the entire club. We are Barcelona, and we are obliged to win every game. The feeling on this team is that it tries, but that it cannot get the job done. Today in the first half, they were better than we were, and it seems we have to fall behind to react like we tried to do in the second half.”
Setien is still asking for more time to make things right. He explained: “I am responsible for our situation, as I am the manager of the team. I hope to be the Barcelona coach in the Champions League, but I don’t know. I agree with Messi on some things. We have be self-critical, and if we aren’t, it will cost us in anything we want to do.”
French legend Laurent Blanc, who has not managed a team in four years, is also being considered for the job.