If anything, history has proven that it is very difficult for a head coach to leave a team like Barcelona and retain a group full of friends – as shown by the latest incident with Juan Carlos Unzue and Neymar Jr.
Not even Pep Guardiola was able to leave on great terms, the man responsible for the most successful spell in Barcelona’s history and the author of the phrase “I know that if I stay, I will do harm,” as his decision to leave the team came against the will of the people.
Luis Enrique will get far less praise. While the Asturian resembles Guardiola in the success that he experienced, winning the treble in his first season and leaving on his own terms, he has never had the mythical status that his former teammate experienced in his time as head coach.
The current environment at Barcelona is not the best, either; there are not daily battles, but gone are the days of wine and roses. There is nothing like failing to reach objectives for the differences between players and the coaches to become more apparent.
And, as is now the case, the players know that Luis Enrique and much of his staff – such as Unzue, touted as a candidate to replace the Asturian – are unlikely to be at the club next season. The shock of the incident between Luis Enrique’s assistant and Neymar is only a sample of the mistrust that currently exists at Sant Joan Despi.
With three games remaining under the 47-year-old head coach, including a Copa del Rey final against Alaves, the players are now in a position where they have no-one to impress.
Being out of contention to win the Champions League has led to some players lowering their intensity in training sessions, and there is the sensation that – in the league at least – they will not have to play at their best to win; a lot also depends on
whether Real Madrid drop points before the final day of the season, with Los Blancos currently experiencing a game in hand on their rivals.
This trend of dropping the intensity has led to some strange results, such as the ones at Estadio Balaidos, La Rosaleda and Riazor.
Although there are some in the Blaugrana dressing room who believe that Unzue would be a good replacement for the Asturian, the Neymar incident further emphasises the need for change.
Barcelona need to look at hiring at someone capable of dealing with the day-to-day training of the first team, with world stars and champions of every trophy possible, and dealing with the squad harmony between the starters and bench players – in other words, they need something different.
You could even say that there were staff members who celebrated the argument between Unzue and the Brazilian; because, if the club’s hierarchy had to choose between the two, it would be Neymar.
Needless to say, this will be a big summer at Barcelona.
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