Barcelona reportedly held a meeting with top figures that lasted until the early hours of the morning after Ronaldo Koeman’s side fell to their latest embarrassing result. This time, it was at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz, consigning the Catalan side to their second 3-0 defeat in two Champions League games after suffering the same fate against Bayern Munich.
Barca now sit rock-bottom of Group E with no points, below even Dynamo Kyiv who managed a draw with Benfica in the last round of matches.
Bayern’s 3-0 triumph at the Camp Nou is what set Barca on their slippery slope, but falling to the same score-line in Portugal was even more surprising.
Last weekend’s La Liga win over Levante offered Koeman a brief reprieve from the barrage of media pressure, but the damage had already been done with disappointing draws against Granada and Cadiz.
According to SPORT, the Barca board met in the early hours of this morning to discuss the club’s ‘extreme situation’.
Key figures were in attendance, including President Joan Laporta, and the discussion went on into the small hours.
Given their run of results, it seems to be a foregone conclusion as to whether Koeman will eventually be sacked.
Reports suggested that their original plan was to wait until the Nations League finals were done and dusted before appointing Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.
However, Barca’s continued embarrassment on the big stage brings up the issue of whether Koeman should be sacked immediately, regardless of whether they have a replacement lined up.
Xavi’s name has also been in the mix, and Laporta would not have to wait until October’s international matches to appoint the former club icon.
There seems a general reluctance to ‘play the Xavi card’ too early, however, with the Barca hotseat an unbelievably tough place to be at the moment amid heavy scrutiny and financial trouble.
Andrea Pirlo is a rogue third name thrown into the ring, the Italian pass master who was dismissed from Juventus last season after a disappointing debut campaign.
The shortcomings of returning boss Massimiliano Allegri have made Pirlo’s stint look better in hindsight, but it would still be a tough ask of an inexperienced coach to steady the ship in Catalonia.
Before Wednesday, Barca’s road to a new boss looked clear with Koeman only needing to limp through the next couple of weeks before Martinez became available.
Yet another poor performance once again threatens to call the club into action immediately, however, with little doubt that any other boss would have been given his marching orders by now.