Sergi Barjuan, before a short-term exam in a sunken Barcelona

Sergi Barjuan, before a short-term exam in a sunken Barcelona

BARCELONA – Sergi Barjuan will direct this Saturday his first and who knows if Barcelona’s last match at the Camp Nou against Alavés. Returned to the club after the electoral victory of Joan Laporta, the one who was left back in the last days of the Dream Team, discovered by Johan Cruyff and who added 386 games for Barça between 1993 and 2002, was appointed by surprise Barcelona B coach in replacement of García Pimienta and, suddenly, he was involved in the crisis that, taking Ronald Koeman ahead, placed him in a scenario that he could not even imagine.

“When you are in a club like Barça you must be prepared for everything,” he warned during an interview in mid-October, when despite Joan Laporta’s words of confidence, suspicion of a dismissal increased around Koeman.

Thus, as if it were a premonition, on Thursday morning he was informed by the president of his appointment as provisional coach until the signing, and the incorporation, of Xavi Hernández is closed and with his eyes set on Alavés, still He does not know at this time if his brief adventure will extend to Tuesday’s vital game in Ukraine against Dynamo Kiev.

It remains to be seen if this interim character causes Sergi to tiptoe over the bench or be noticed with an interventionism that, from the outset, was guessed this Friday when he summoned two players from the subsidiary to training: Álvaro Sanz and Abde Ezzazouli.

Frenkie de Jong, Sergi Roberto and Ansu Fati absent in the session, it is not difficult to assume that Sergi will include them in the call and, who knows, if Abde, a winger with great destabilizing capacity, has his chance in a scheme that is understood to transfer from the subsidiary to the first team with a clear 4-3-3 in which the news that may be in terms of names in the line-up will explain the character of the coach.


It will be, in any case, a very short-lived adventure of which he is fully aware, knowing that he will return to the subsidiary (where his position is temporarily occupied by Albert Capellas) as soon as Xavi Hernández solves his departure from Al-Sadd and his incorporation into the Barcelona, ​​which is confident at this time that it will take place on the same Sunday to already lead the team in Kiev.

In the absence of specifying this fact, Sergi Barjuan will become this Saturday the fifth interim coach in the history of Barça, first since Toño de la Cruz replaced Van Gaal in 2003 and as a bridge until the incorporation of Radomir Antic and who completed a list started by Enric Rabassa in 1960, José Luis Romero in 1983 and Carles Rexach in 1996.

Rabassa, the first of them, replaced Helenio Herrera after the dismissal of El Mago in April 1960, after Barcelona, ​​who had linked their second consecutive league title, was eliminated by Real Madrid in the semifinal of the Copa de Europe, winning 1-3 at the Camp Nou in the middle of a confrontation between the legendary coach and the board, who resolved to replace him with the subsidiary’s technician to direct during the Spanish Cup and the final of the Fairs Cup, warning that he would leave the charge at the end of the course.

With Rabassa at the helm, Barcelona won their first five games consecutively, proclaiming themselves champions of the Fairs Cup (4-1 at Birmingham) and suffered a cruel elimination in the Cup quarterfinals, after winning the first leg 3-1 in the Camp Nou against Athletic Bilbao and being thrashed (3-0) in San Mamés. Finished the course Rabassa returned to the second team.

A similar event did not occur again until March 1983. Barça was defeated at the Camp Nou by Racing Santander (0-2) in the League and after failing to go 0-0 in Vienna in the quarterfinals of the Cup Winners’ Cup. Udo Lattek, very touched in his position since the end of the previous season, was struck down. While the Barça club negotiated the signing of César Luis Menotti, which would arrive after ten days, they appointed the assistant to the dismissed coach, José Luis Romero.

Romero only led one league game, on March 5, 1983, in Salamanca, which ended in a draw (1-1) to join the subsidiary with the arrival of Menotti and his team of collaborators (Angel Cappa and Rogelio Poncini).

Carles Rexach was next. Although he already had to replace Johan Cruyff, being his second, in 1991 for three games due to the heart attack that the Dutchman suffered, his official appointment as provisional coach took place on May 18, 1996, when the Barça club board decided In a hysterical day, firing Cruyff and Charly took their place in the two league games that remained to finish the course.

His provisional step resulted in a victory (3-2) over Celta and a draw (2-2) in Riazor against Deportivo de La Coruña. At the end of the season Rexach left the bench since Barcelona had already closed the signing of Bobby Robson to lead the team the following season.

The last case occurred in January 2003 and had Toño de la Cruz, curiously a former Barça left-back as in the case of Sergi, as the protagonist. In the midst of social and sporting collapse and after chaining two defeats against Valencia (2-4) and Celta (2-0), the club fired Van Gaal, immediately negotiating the signing of Radomir Antic.

Before the arrival of the Serbian coach, Barça played on February 1, 2003 at Vicente Calderón with De la Cruz, a member of the club’s coaching staff, as head coach.

The result could not be more devastating: 3-0 for the colchoneros. Immediately De la Cruz returned to his plot and Antic joined, with a contract until the end of the season, with an option to be extended … That the winner of the elections the following summer, Joan Laporta, did not execute and was replaced by Frank Rijkaard .

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