La Liga

What do Barcelona legends think of the current state of the club?

The Catalan giants remain in a moment of crisis and influential ex-players have made their feelings clear

3:04pm on Monday 20th July 2020
Martin Macdonald

Something is wrong at Barcelona.

After two La Liga wins in a row, the Catalan side surrendered the 19/20 title to Real Madrid last week after losing 2-1 versus Osasuna at Camp Nou.

Afterwards, Lionel Messi insisted that something has to change within the very fabric of the club if they are to return to domestic success, and even suggested they could be knocked out of the Champions League in the upcoming match against Napoli if they didn't buck up their ideas.

Barca responded with a 5-0 away win versus Alaves, with Messi earning a perfect 10 FC Rating for his performance.

FootballCritic previously looked at the timeline of incidents which have left Messi disgruntled with the current state of things, including transfer policy and mismanagement at board level.

We know what Messi thinks, but what about other Barca legends?

Hristo Stoichkov described head coach Quique Setien and assistant Eder Sarabia as "mediocre", and questioned the vast amount of money the club has spent in the transfer market, with so little to show for it.

The Bulgarian said on La Liga TV: "You sack Valverde when he's first in LaLiga and don't sack him when he loses 3-0 in Rome or 4-0 in Liverpool, or against Valencia in the Copa [del Rey final].

"You know what's more worrying? The one billion [euros] spent and nothing earned. Look, a billion... that's not two cents. You kick out Valverde to bring in a mediocre coach, like his assistant,"

Dani Alves insists Messi is correct to be angry at how things are going, and believes he is doing everything by himself to try and claw the club to success.

"He is a born winner, he does not like to lose and it is normal for him to be angry," the Brazilian told Catalan Radio.

"He wants to always win, as I have. He has been doing it for so long that you already perceive when your team gives and when not. That is why he says, he has been at Barça for many years and he is aware of what he needs to be able to win and aspire to great things.

"He needs to be clothed. Messi was the main course but we are the perfect ingredients. He always wants to be on top and you need people to build that. The feeling now is that he always has to be pulling the car and he's human."

Alves' compatriot, Rivaldo, thinks Barcelona should seriously consider the drastic act of replacing Setien as head coach before the Champions League fixture against Napoli in August.

"There is a real danger of falling against Naples," he said.

"As a former FC Barcelona player and Barca fan, I am concerned about that game and I think that most of the Catalans share that feeling. With Barcelona in the slips, with the spirit touched, without an audience and with the Italians released, I think it will be very complicated.

"Now the big issue that Barcelona has on the table is whether there should be a change of coach before the Champions League and, honestly, I think it is a headache for President [Josep Maria] Bartomeu. I think the president should think.

"The fans and the press are disenchanted with the work of Setién and the way they play and that reinforces the idea that you have to make a change right now."

There is no doubt that Setien will be fighting for his job in the fixture against Napoli, while he isn't even guaranteed to keep his role should Barcelona actually progress to the last eight. For Messi, something needs to change, whether that be in the manager's chair - or in the boardroom.

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