Barcelona will take on Real Sociedad in the first semi-final of the Supercopa de Espana on Wednesday night in Cordoba. It is the second time that the competition will be played in a quadrangular format.
The first, which took place in Saudi Arabia, was a sad memory for the Catalans. They lost against Atletico Madrid on January 9 last year – and the defeat was the beginning of the end for Ernesto Valverde. This was not because of the defeat itself, but because it was the latest setback which damaged the team’s image.
No team has won the Supercopa more time than Barcelona’s 13, which is two more than Real Madrid.
Days of search
It was one year ago today, January 13, that Valverde was dismissed from his post. Just one day later, sporting director Eric Abidal and general director Oscar Grau attempted to convince Xavi Hernandez to take charge. Instead, it was Quique Setien who accepted the role.
While Valverde had retained the support of the dressing room, including Lionel Messi, the board considered that the best and only way to progress was through a change of coach.
But Setien’s work at the Camp Nou did not lead to the expected recovery that Josep Maria Bartomeu and co. had expected. Results on the pitch were similar, the most painful of which was the 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
The arrival of the ex-Betis boss did not change the dynamic in the squad either. In fact, Setien and his staff never quite managed to connect with the dressing room, particularly the bigger characters. Continue reading