Sports The 24 Hours That Have Changed the Life of...

The 24 Hours That Have Changed the Life of Quique Setién (Toni Padilla)


This Sunday Quique Setién was watching the Copa del Rey match between Escobedo and Sevilla. Between his village, Liencres and Escobedo, it is only a 14-minute drive away, so Setién took the opportunity to go live football to greet friends and hang out. Since leaving Betis, the veteran coach has been out of work, though he has received many offers, none of which are interesting enough. Clubs like Huesca or Girona had polled him last summer. Celta and Leganés also spoke to their representative not so long ago, when they were looking for a new coach to change a negative dynamic.

But while he was in the Escobedo camp he received two calls. One was from a Madrid journalist who asked if it was true that Barça had been interested in him. Setién replied that rumors had come but nothing official and would gladly accept a six month contract. He was then called by a Spanish representative approaching him to obtain information for Barça. A poll call. Setién referred him to his agent, the Italian Edoardo Crnjar, who was in Italy closing down the many footballers he represents.

Ball and positioning: the bases of the Setién style

24 hours later, Setién was already a Barça coach. "We didn't expect it, it's been very fast," the new coach admitted on Monday. Setién's surroundings admit that they know well that he was not the first option of the Barça sports management. Before Xavi was visited, he talked with Koeman, with Pochettino … but it was Setién who took this great opportunity. On Sunday Setien sent a message to his assistant, Eder Sarabia, explaining the call received, but neither believed that their dream would come true. Sarabia is the son of Manu Sarabia, the former player who won two leagues in the 1980's with Athletic Club Bilbao. And, in fact, he was in Bilbao the weekend, watching on television how the Bilbao Basket won at the Palau Blaugrana. Without imagining that hours later he would be a Barça worker, he made a congratulatory tweet to his city team, which qualified for the King's Cup. Sarabia, a man of character who more than once fought with other coaches, gradually believed him. And on Tuesday, when he arrived at the Camp Nou, he made it clear that "when you have a chance like this, you have to go to everyone." And in a statement of intent, Setién adjourned the holiday that Barça had today.

From Sunday to Monday, in 24 hours, everything changed in the lives of Setién and Sarabia, who alerted the other members of his coaching staff, goalkeeper coach Jon Pascua and physical trainer Fran Soto. Sunday's first contacts, however, were scoring. It wasn't until Sunday night that the first call arrived asking if I would be willing to accept. "I got the call on Sunday and did not wait five minutes. I do not have an extensive resume, but I have a style that I have always defended," Setien explained.

However, on Monday mornings, they were not yet believed to be the chosen ones. They were sure that Barça were working on different options. In fact, Edoardo Crnjar did not arrive in Barcelona until late Monday afternoon. The representative, a young Croatian boy raised in Milan, who entered the football world working at a car dealership where footballers arrived, said he was flying to Barcelona to negotiate in person once it became clear he was already determined. Setién was the only option, a call that occurred during the afternoon's board meeting. So, Crnjar did not land until Monday at 6 p.m.

Earlier he had told Setien that a long contract had to be reached, taking advantage of the fact that Barça had little room for maneuver. The coach relied on his representative, who he has been working with two years, but, as he admitted, it had taken a few seconds to say yes. The Barça management, which seriously considered offering a six-month bid, understood that sending a negative message was a long message, despite the fact that Josep Maria Bartomeu asked to provide a clause to break the contract. contract after 2021, understanding that it was unethical for a contract to go beyond the election.

On Monday afternoon, Crnjar confirmed to Setién that he was the chosen one and the coach landed in Barcelona already at night, where he met Sarabia, who had also come, and different members of the Barça sports area, with the who were chatting until dawn. The first night in Barcelona they slept very little, as on Tuesday morning they were trying on their clothes to train in the Sports City, where they met an excited Ernesto Valverde. He finished a stage and started a new one with a technical body that is ready to dream. They know that a gift from heaven has fallen to them.


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