Their players argued in the dressing room on Saturday because they know they are way off. Messi ignored Setien’s assistant Eder Sarabia, frustrated at the end of yet another campaign where the club has wasted his talent.
Messi, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique have all taken shots at the board in recent months. Under president Josep Maria Bartomeu, decisions seem to be taken haphazardly, without direction and often with the financial merits in mind.
Arthur Melo came on as a substitute on Saturday, the 23-year-old once with Barca’s DNA in his veins, who was circled as the long-term replacement for Xavi Hernandez.
Instead, Arthur will be sold to Juventus as part of an accounting merry-go-round that allows the board to balance the books before June 30.
Antoine Griezmann came on too, the 120-million euro signing from Atletico Madrid who was reportedly never wanted by key players and has been rarely played in his best position.
Of the 11 that started at Balaidos, six were 31 or older, and at least three were reportedly offered to Paris Saint-Germain last year in a botched attempt to bring back Neymar.
Barcelona face Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Tuesday, looking to salvage their season but the future already looks bleak for Setien.
He was asked about his job on Monday, five months after he arrived. “Victories hide many things, defeats reveal them,” he said. “Sometimes the results don’t depend on me.”