Barcelona have sacked sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta following the club’s failure to overturn their year-long transfer ban
The Spanish giants were found guilty of transgressing regulations concerning the signature of overseas players under the age of 18, and the former Barca and Spain goalkeeper has paid the price after four years in his job.
Former captain Carles Puyol, who has been working as one of Zubizarreta’s assistants, was thought to be lined up as a possible
replacement but he also has left the club, saying: “I have decided to end my working relationship with FC Barcelona.
“I hope to grow both personally and professionally so that, in the future, I can return to this house and give back everything that you have undoubtedly given me during these unforgettable years.”
President Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has been credited with personally making the decision, is set to hold a press conference
Meanwhile, defiant coach Luis Enrique refused to accept that his team were below par in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Real Sociedad.
Barca dominated possession but only created a handful of decent chances after an early own goal by Jordi Alba sent the hosts on their way to a famous victory.
The result left Barca to reflect upon more dropped points on their travels after a goalless draw at Getafe in their previous away encounter, while Enrique is facing heavy criticism for his decision to leave star forwards Lionel Messi and Neymar – neither of whom managed a shot on target – on the bench until the second half.
The increasing mood of negativity towards the Barca boss was summed up by usually-supportive Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo, whose headline on their report of the game blasted: ‘Enrique loses credit.’
Enrique said: “We played well and controlled the match, especially in the second half. We did not deserve to lose, but we were unfortunate and when you play against a team which parks the bus, which the early goal allowed them to do, it is not easy.”
Naturally, the biggest talking point was Enrique’s team selection, but he would not admit that the decision to omit the two players
who have accounted for 26 of his team’s 41 league goals was a mistake.
“Feeling sorry for yourself after the game does not do any good,” he added. “I took the decision so the players would not be
risked after long travels. It was better to do that, but whether it was the right decision, you never know.”
Amid reports that his relationship with his manager has deteriorated, Messi was absent through illness from his team’s open training session yesterday, which was staged in front of 11,000 fans in the club’s reserve team ‘mini’ stadium.
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