Quique Setien was just as surprised as everyone else by his appointment as Barcelona coach.

“Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being here,” he confessed at his unveiling as Ernesto Valverde’s successor in January.

“Yesterday, I was walking past cows in my village. Today, I was at Barcelona’s training ground coaching the best players in the world.”

Setien had been out of work since parting company with Real Betis last May, after an underwhelming 2018-19 campaign, and was poised to take charge of an Egyptian club when he received a most unexpected approach from the leaders of La Liga.

“When you’re out of work, waiting for an opportunity, you imagine [receiving an offer from] a team that’s down the bottom, in trouble,” he said. “It’s not normal to take over a team that’s first.”

Nothing at Barca is normal anymore, though. Chaos is now the default setting at Camp Nou.

Since Quique’s arrival just five months ago, there has been a social media scandal, allegations of theft and corruption, mass resignations at board level and a bitter dispute over pay-cuts provoked by the financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The coach would be forgiven for wondering if he’d erred in swapping the tranquility of Liencres for the anarchy of Barcelona.

Clearly, though, this is the opportunity of a lifetime for a man who has never lifted a major trophy. The only problem is that there’s no guarantee that he’ll win a title in Catalunya.   Continue reading

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