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Fight amongst Barça staffs as Messi openly ignores Setien’s assistant Coach

Written by Aminu Musa

New footage shows Messi openly ignoring Setien’s No.2 Eder Sarabia

This is the moment Lionel Messi is seen openly ignoring instructions from Quique Setien’s No 2 Eder Sarabia as the split between the players and coaching staff at Barcelona continues to deepen.

The crisis engulfing the club was laid bare for all to see at Balaidos on Saturday night as Barca once again dropped points to hand Real Madrid the advantage in the LaLiga title race.

Reports claim players were involved in a furious bust-up with Setien in the dressing room after the game, and now new footage has emerged of Messi appearing to completely blank Sarabia as he tried to give him tactical advice.

In the clip, Messi approaches the touchline during the cooling break away at Celta Vigo, taking a bottle of water alongside his team-mates.

As he takes the drink, a masked Sarabia can be seen trying to get Messi’s attention, but rather than staying with his team-mates and heeding the instructions, the club’s star man instead walks back onto the pitch and does not respond.

He then comes back to the touchline to put the bottle back, with Sarabia still trying to talk to him, but Messi continues to ignore the coach before returning to the pitch.

The Argentine can also be seen muttering something under his breath as the problems continue to mount for the Nou Camp giants.

According to Spanish news outlet Marca, the frustration then spilled into the changing rooms after the game, with some of Barcelona’s playing staff criticising Setien’s tactical decisions throughout the match.

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The most notable area of complaint from the playing staff was Setien’s decision to bring on struggling Antoine Griezmann for two-goal hero Suarez with just under 10 minutes to play.

In addition, Setien brought off promising youngster Riqui Puig for Juventus-bound Arthur Melo with four minutes left which further angered some of the Barcelona players.

Marca report that this is not the first time the Barcelona players have clashed with Setien on matters surrounding tactical decisions, leading to a growing disharmony between manager and squad.

Barcelona took a first-half lead through Suarez’s 20th minute strike, but were pegged back five minutes after the break through Russian Fyodor Smolov’s equaliser.

Suarez re-established the Catalan side’s lead a little over 15 minutes later with a smart turn and finish, but a late free-kick leveller by former Liverpool man Iago Aspas in the 88th minute meant the points were shared.

After the match, Suarez was quick to point the finger at those responsible for giving away the two leads.

When asked why Barcelona had dropped points again away from home, he said: ‘I think that’s why coaches are there, to analyse those situations. We’re there to do our best on the pitch.

‘Away from home, we’re dropping important points that we didn’t usually drop in other seasons.’

One of the reasons why Setien’s predecessor, Ernesto Valverde, was sacked in January was due to a poor away form and the inability to keep clean sheets on the road.

On Sunday, defender Gerard Pique issued a rallying cry on Twitter, insisting that he and his team-mates would not give up on retaining their LaLiga title.

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The Spain star wrote: ‘Remember one thing, we are Barca and that is not over yet. Fighting to the end is part of our DNA. Head high and on Tuesday [against Atletico Madrid], we’ll all go!’

As it stands, Real Madrid hold a two-point advantage at the top of the table, with six games still to play. If the two sides are level on points come the end of the campaign, Real will be champions by virtue of their better head-to-head record.

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Aminu Musa

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