With the pain of defeat, the disappointment of leaving without Sevilla gaining even a point, the first defeat at the Sanchez-Pizjuan in the league all season… there could be a lot of anger in Jorge Sampaoli’s body. As he went off to the dressing room without a word to anyone, he encountered Javier Mascherano, who met him with a hug that came from god knows where. His compatriot whispered something lovingly in his ear. And then came Neymar, who did the same. And later, in the tunnel, appeared the smiling face of the man who inflicted this pain on Sampaoli. Leo Messi, who also approached the coach. Three heavyweights from the team paying tribute to the coach who crossed the pond with the distinction of being the third best in the world.
SAMPAOLI’S GOOD PLAY
The game served to put the coach on FC Barcelona’s map. The fans discovered a coach whose team played like Barcelona did under Guardiola at Camp Nou. Intensity, pressure, attacking play, changing positions, tactical risks, reasons that Neymar decided to sign for Barcelona, values that allowed Messi to show just who he is, and allowed Mascherano to rediscover football after his experience in England.
Sampaoli has almost all the virtues that Barcelonismo wants from their coach and is a name that should be considered at the end of the season if Luis Enrique decides to abandon his position at the end of the season. There is only one factor that may stop him being the successor to Luis Enrique and the predecessor of Xavi Hernandez. He does not have a Cule past, he is not in the line of 360 degree Blaugrana coaches, and one part of the board is of the opinion that a new coach needs this deserve the Camp Nou throne.
However, is that a sufficient argument to rule out a coach who has more similarities to the club’s style than Luis Enrique does? And than Cocu? Than Van Bronkhorst? Than Koeman? And than Valverde? How many times have you seen Barcelona stars greet a rival coach with so much fervour as they did Sampaoli? This baldy has something special.