"Andoni Zubizarreta's days as sporting director are numbered. It wouldn't be shocking if Zubi is sacked by the end of the week." - Xoel Càrdenas, January 4, 2015
Well, that was faster that I thought.
On Monday, Zubi was let go as sporting director of FC Barcelona. After years of incompetency, Zubi is finally gone.
I don't wish bad things for Zubi. I wish him good things for him in the future. My problem with Zubi was/is that he was an incompetent sporting director who know nothing about the business. It has always been business, never personal. I wish him good health and lots of luck, but he should never work in a football front office again because he doesn't know what he's doing.
On Monday, Carles Puyol officially left FC Barcelona as their assistant sporting director. It was surprising to some, but for many Barça insiders, the move was in the works. According to RAC1, Puyol had informed the club he would be leaving weeks ago, however, with Zubi's resignation, it seemed like the perfect time to depart as well.
Many are speculating why Puyol left only after three and a half months. There are two main theories floating around. One is that Puyol and manager Luis Enrique did not see eye-to-eye on issues. Another theory is that Puyol grew tired of what he saw with the FCB board. So is it either of these theories? The answer may be in Puyol's statement via his Facebook account:
"These three and a half months I have been given the chance to see the other side of the club. I have learned a lot, I am very grateful, now, I would like to experiment with other things from another perspective, and from other places. I want to grow, both personal and professional..."
Puyol saw "the other side of the club" and "learned a lot" about the club and how its run. Maybe he didn't like what he saw. Maybe he saw a board drowning in their own egos and mistakes, and didn't want to be a part of it. Maybe he didn't want to be affiliated with this board or the manager, and decided it was best to leave.
Or maybe he simply grew tired and realized the job of assistant sporting director wasn't for him, and wanted to do other things. Also, with his wife, Vanessa Lorenzo, traveling regularly for her profession, Carles may want to travel with her, as Sport.es suggested.
I hope to see Puyol taking a part of FC Barcelona charitable work and other causes. Let's remember that not all former FCB players need to be employed in some capacity at FC Barcelona. Puyol will always be the eternal capità, and he bleeds Blaugrana. The club always be a part of him and vice versa. Go have fun, Puyi!
If all of this wasn't enough for a chaotic Monday, Lionel Messi followed Chelsea FC on Instagram, and the world went mad. People began talking about Messi potentially joining The Blues. Culés already began to get worried about Messi being sold to Jose Mourinho and Chelsea.
MESSI FOLLOWED CHELSEA ON INSTAGRAM. START FREAKING OUT. (via @diarioas) http://t.co/LnKDbhNPMh pic.twitter.com/TL6nHW24N8— SB Nation (@SBNation) January 5, 2015
Let's all calm down.
Messi has followed Manchester City for a while now, and he hasn't joined the Citizens. Messi also followed Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and left-back Filipe Luis. The English media is absolutely loving this story, and are already stating that "Messi is hinting at a Chelsea move."
Really, guys? Wow. So Leo's going to play for both Chelsea and City, since he's "hinting" at joining them? Come on now.
Could this be a tactical move by Leo to make the media stir-up transfer rumors, causing drama for the FCB board? Who knows. Maybe he just respects Courtois and Luis, and wants to follow them on Instagram. It could all be that simple.
I don't see Messi following Chelsea and two of their players as a "Get me out of here!" sign by Leo. I don't say this because it's wishful thinking, but it's because that is what I believe. Lucas Resende, a great culer and a great follow on Twitter, wrote an excellent editorial on this Messi/Insta-gate issue, including:
"If He ACTUALLY wanted to leave, to sign with any other club in the world, he would. Quietly. Secretly. Not like a teenager who just found a new crush. What He did today is good news. He cares and loves this club way more than the people who have put us in this situation, and especially more than the "culers" who are right this second fuming at Him and his family for his Instagram antics."
I agree with Lucas. If Messi wanted to leave, he wouldn't start his "mission" to leave by following a team and admiring them via photos and 15-second videos on Instagram. Messi loves FC Barcelona, and I'm sure it's painful for him that the club he loves has gone from the top of the football world to being an inept madhouse. Does Messi have problems with Luis Enrique? Yes, it's obvious. But we are now hearing that MANY have issues with Lucho (more on that in a moment).
I don't see Josep Bartomeu wanting to be the FCB president that sells the greatest footballer of all time. Bartomeu is terrible at what he does, but I don't believe he wants to go down in infamy by selling Messi. Bartomeu's legacy will forever be a horrid one, but even he wouldn't do something as idiotic as entertaining the idea of selling Messi—like that would benefit the club or even his "legacy" somehow. Besides, Bartomeu may be gone soon enough.
BTW: I'd love it if Messi is just trolling the FCB board with a few touches/follows on his smartphone.
Like it was for Andoni Zubizarreta, Luis Enrique's days at FC Barcelona are numbered.
It has now come to light that Lucho and the players do not speak much to each other, if at all, in some cases.
Paco Aguillar confirms there's no dialogue between Luis Enrique and his players. He's done at Barcelona, now we wait.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) January 6, 2015
"I am the leader," he told his players, according to Onda Cero (Spain). As I mentioned in my previous article, any boss that has to constantly repeat his or her status as boss knows he or she truly doesn't have control. If Lucho knew he had control and respect of his players, he wouldn't repeat his "boss" status because he'd already know that his players respect him and they know who's in charge.
Messi and Neymar laughing a bit about warming up after the Jordi Alba own-goal:
@lucasammr did you see this vine of neymar telling messi to warm up after the alba OG? http://t.co/5M59ffswrx Tells you everything— Futbol Fan (@Futbolfan08) January 5, 2015
Hmm. Perhaps laughing at the fact that they are both on the bench instead of in the game, where they should be. Perhaps they are laughing at their manager's "tactical" decisions.
Overview: Barcelona's first 17 Liga games in the last 3 seasons #fcblive [via @pr0w] pic.twitter.com/RnL0EoW5L4— barcastuff (@barcastuff) January 6, 2015
It's now clear that the worst signing of 2014 was not Douglas nor Thomas Vermaelen, it was Josep Bartomeu and Andoni Zubizarreta's first signing of 2014: Luis Enrique. He has lost it, and needs to go. This Wednesday, there will be a special meeting at the club, and Lucho's reign may come to an end. Cadena COPE reported that the Barcelona board will give Lucho an ultimatum: to get his team on the right track both on and off the pitch or else he's gone.
For Lucho, that's mission impossible.
It'd be best if he's gone now, and not wait. Not just for the betterment of the team, but even for Luis Enrique as well. If he's gone now, at least his record won't take any more hits. Maybe he can even
sucker get a club to hire him as manager in the future.
Were we, culers, too naïve when Luis Enrique was hired? Definitely. Lucho was signed early in the summer, and had plenty of time to get his tactics together. As we all see and know now, Lucho had no true plan, no tactics—nothing. Luis Enrique has failed at FC Barcelona—just like the FCB board—and both Lucho and the board need to go. The board has been nothing but a tumor, and has slowly taken the life away from what was, a few years ago, "the best club in the world."
During the visit to a hospital for charity today, Bartomeu said: "I don't know what Luis Enrique is doing. He's gone mad." [@partidodelas12]— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) January 5, 2015
Chaos reigns in Catalunya, and we have to thank Sandro Rosell (don't forget about him), Josep Bartomeu, Andoni Zubizarreta and the rest of the FCB board for destroying "Més que un club" in such a short amount of time.
Zubi is gone. That leaves Bartomeu, Lucho and the FCB board to go. This Wednesday, a press conference will be held. It is also expected that the board will meet after the press conference. But don't be surprised if the FCB socios ask for an emergency meeting to discuss the future of the club's leadership.
As I mentioned previously, the FCB socios have to rise up and do something soon. I don't have faith that Josep Bartomeu will step down on Wednesday. If he announces that elections will be moved to this year, I will stand up and clap for Bartomeu for doing the right thing after so many wrong decisions. I hope to see the dismissal of Luis Enrique. There truly is no point in keeping him on now. He has lost the locker room, the trust of socios, and perhaps even the people that hired him, one of which is now gone. His stubbornness and his lack of football tactical knowledge are two of the many reasons Lucho is on his way out.
Cadena COPE (Spain) reporting that Barça leadership has told Leo Messi that Luis Enrique will soon be dismissed as FCB manager.— Xoel Càrdenas (@XoelCardenas) January 6, 2015
We are truly in dark days for FC Barcelona. But with Monday's events, perhaps the sun will shine sooner than we thought for the club.
Continue to support the players.
Monday, January 5, 2015 will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the Sandro Rosell/Josep Bartomeu era of FC Barcelona. An era that started with stability, winning, trophies and high expectations for the future, but will be remembered for being filled with scandals, failure, disappointment and incompetence.
January 5, 2015
Thank goodness the end is near.
- Lionel Messi Is Not Joining Chelsea FC
- Carles Puyol Resigns as FC Barcelona's Assistant Sporting Director
- Director of Football Andoni Zubizarreta Fired by FC Barcelona President
- Lionel Messsi misses open practice due to illness... And that's not the entire story
- FC Barcelona News: 5 January 2015; Barça Lose to Real Sociedad (Again), Lionel Messi Misses Training