Martino mulls Barça future after Getafe draw

Gerardo Martino said he will reflect on whether he will continue as Barcelona coach for next season after seeing his side's title hopes all but ended by a 2-2 draw at home to relegation threatened Getafe.

Martino mulls Barça future after Getafe draw
Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

The Catalans now look set to end the campaign without a major trophy for the first time in six years as they lie three points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid with just two games remaining and having played one match more than Los Rojiblancos.

As well as the onfield disappointment, Barça have had a difficult year off the field as former coach Tito Vilanova passed away after a battle with cancer and Sandro Rosell was forced to resign as president due to his role in the controversial signing of Neymar last year.

"Overall the season has not been a good one on a personal level, nor for Barcelona as a whole. It has been a very difficult season with a lot of external questions that we couldn't overcome," said Martino.

"There are times when you ask for a second chance and other times when you don't think you deserve it, so I will see what I think.

"I still believe there is time to think about it. We have just finished a game and now is not the time to say anything."

Martino added that he was particularly unhappy to have dropped points at home to a team fighting relegation having come from behind in difficult circumstances to beat high-flying Athletic Bilbao and Villareal in recent weeks.

"In reality it was not what we expected," said the Argentine.

"There was a chance that we wouldn't achieve our objective in winning the league, but not because we didn't win our games. Today we committed some errors and it has cost us.

"If you don't beat a team fighting against relegation at home then you don't deserve to remain in the fight for the title till the end. Of the three teams in the title race, we have been the least consistent."

Midfielder Sergio Busquets admitted immediately after the game that Barça had committed errors "unbecoming of professionals" and captain Xavi Hernandez insisted the players have a lot to work on for next season.

"We are hurting. It has not been a good season. We didn't have luck and we haven't been competitive in many aspects. Apart from the Supercup, we haven't achieved our objectives," he said.

"We need to forget about this season. Barring a miracle the league is lost and we need to look at ourselves for the reasons why. We need to improve many things ourselves for next season."

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Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?

Around 10,000 people demonstrated against the expansion of the El Prat airport in Barcelona on Sunday.

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?
People march during a demonstration against the expansion of the Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Several ecological and agricultural organisations, have demanded that the expansion be stopped due to the fact nearby wetlands and farms would have to be destroyed.

The demonstration took place on Calle Tarragona in the Catalan capital between Plaça d’Espanya and Plaça dels Països Catalans.

The protests still took place, even though last week, Spain suspended the €1.7 billion airport expansion project, citing differences with the Catalan government, after president Pere Aragonès said he wanted to avoid destroying La Ricarda lagoon, a natural reserve next to the airport. 

Environmentalists decided not to call off the march, in case plans for the airport expansion still went ahead.

READ ALSO: Six things you need to know about Barcelona airport’s €1.7 billion planned expansion

Political representatives from ERC, En Comú Podem and the CUP also attended, as well as the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón; the Deputy Mayor for Ecology of the Barcelona City Council, Janet Sanz, and the Mayor of El Prat de Llobregat, Lluís Mijoler.

People from neighbourhoods across the city marched towards Calle Tarragona and could be seen holding placards that read Nature yes, airport no and shouting slogans such as “More courgettes and fewer planes” and “Fighting for the climate, health, and life”. 

One of the largest groups of people were those from El Prat de Llobregat, the municipality which is home to the airport, who were led by tractors. 

People march during a demonstration against the expansion of Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

In addition to protesting against the expansion of the El Prat airport, people were also demonstrating against the Winter Olympic Games in the Pyrenees and extensions to airports in Mallorca and Madrid. 

A representative of Zeroport, Sara Mingorría said “We are here to defend not only La Ricarda, but the entire Delta”. 

The philosopher Marina Garcés also argued that the expansion of the airport would mean “more borders, more mass tourism, more control and more precarious jobs.” 

The leader of the commons in the Catalan parliament, Jéssica Albiach, who also attended the protest, asked the PSOE for “coherence”: “You cannot be passing a law against climate change and, at the same time, defend the interests of Aena [the airport operations company]”, she said. 

She also urged the leader of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, to “definitely say no. 

If the airport expansion in Barcelona goes ahead, environmentalists say that CO2 emissions would rise by a minimum of 33 percent. These levels would surpass the limits set by the Catalan government’s climate targets.