Barça in no-crisis shock as Enrique stays on

Tim Stannard reflects on the mood in Catalonia after their treble-winning coach extends his contract...


Well, that was disappointing. LLL was hoping to get its CRISIS! kick and see if Barcelona could cunningly turn from Champions League triumph to manager-less disaster in just four days. But that did not come to pass.

Instead, the club quietly tied up Luis Enrique until 2017, and got Dani Alves to say nice things about the Catalan institution for once with an agreement to renew his contract for two years. “My heart asked me to stay,” said the Brazilian full-back, revealing an endearing pet name for his wallet. The cherry on top of all this top, top news is that Sevilla might even take Martin Montoya off their hands as part of a reward for handing over Aleix Vidal.

The dark lining on the silver cloud of happiness is the impending presidential election currently set to take place on July 18. The campaign over the next few weeks has enormous potential for name-calling and mud-slinging, as rivals line up to take down a regime that might have been a little shaky on matters of tax and contracts but also won the treble.

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That’s not to say that there aren’t rumbles to be found elsewhere in La Liga, especially over which teams will be playing in it next year. Cordoba seem to be the only team totally down without any questions. Elche have been given administrative relegation due to an unpaid and unsecured debt to the Spanish tax authorities. “They are down,” was the firm response from Spanish league president Javier Tebas on Elche’s complaints and various attempts to reverse the decision through the law courts over the summer.

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Elche’s demise was the good news for Eibar, but La Liga being La Liga, the Basque club have turned to in-fighting as a way of celebrating. The former coach, Gaizka Garitano, resigned after the last day saying he had failed to do his managerial duties. The club president, Alex Aranzabal, said on Monday that he expected no return for him. “What we want is a hungry coach, who knows this place or can rapidly be integrated into our values,” said the Basque bigwig.

‘Nonsense’ was the vibe from Jose Antonio Fernandez, a board member and president of Eibar’s main sponsor. “[Garitano] wants to continue,” he said, and he would like to see him do just that. Getafe’s future is still in doubt, with the club in the same situation as Elche – that of having outstanding debt with the Spanish taxman still hanging in the air with no resolution. To throw extra spice into the ring, Marca reports that €8 million is owed to players. “In two to three weeks, there will be a resolution,” says league chief Tebas on an increasingly stuffed inbox that may include reinstating Almeria to take Getafe's place, and a hokey-cokey situation with Elche. But what else should we expect from La Liga Loca?

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