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Zubizarreta and Luis Enrique meet in Gavá

AS AS 06/05/2014 Alfredo Relaño

The scramble that is the end to this season was missing something like this: a meeting in Gavá (a lovely area on the outskirts of Barcelona, where Barça players of this and other generations often buy houses) between Zubizarreta, accompanied by two sidekicks, and Luis Enrique, who is still Celta Vigo boss. Celta play Real Madrid on Sunday. Barça need Madrid to fail to win a match, and Vigo could be the place. What did they talk about? Were they handing over Martino's mantle, with the Argentine still in with a chance of winning the league, or did they discuss incentives for Celta ahead of Sunday?

If it’s the one, it’s bad; if it’s the other, it’s worse. And something must have gone awry in setting the meeting up if it was surprised by Cuatro, laSexta, SER and Sport, who captured them leaving. Luis Enrique doesn't come out of it looking good at all, Martino appears utterly disregarded and Zubi has confirmed his love of walking like the Patagonian duck: leaving a smelly mess with every step. I have good friends in Barcelona who assure me he isn’t as bungling as I think, but as much as I look for reasons to agree with them, I can’t find any. I look at the shape Barça were in before and the shape they’re in today… And now this.

It's an added dash of spice to a scramble of run-in that has everyone reaching for their calculators. The betters' sums are with Atleti in pole position, followed by Madrid and then Barcelona. But all it takes is a Madrid draw with Valladolid for Barça to grab the ‘favourites’ tag, because their fate would be in their own hands and they’d be alive and kicking once more, as long as they could rebuild Tata's standing before the squad, which won't have been helped by Monday's manoeuvre. It's one thing not to believe in clutching at straws, quite another to hit reverse when no-one has taken the chequered flag yet.

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