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Of all the matches that Deportivo could have chosen to kick off a desperate but doomed survival battle, a visit to the Camp Nou would have been bottom of the list. Even a trip to the Santiago Bernabéu against a mightily relieved and potentially distracted Real Madrid would have been an easier pick. Instead, la Primera's bottom-of-the-table shambles are facing a wounded outfit looking for a punch bag to work through a malaise ahead of a meeting with Milan, at a stadium where just two points have been dropped all season in la Liga.
Depor have won just three games all year, all of them at home, a record that sees the Galician outfit with just 17 points after 26 matches. The third coach of the season, Fernando Vazquez, has had just as much luck as his predecessors in trying to plug the holes and pump out the water in a rapidly sinking Deportivo side that has conceded 56 goals.
If it were just problems on the pitch affecting Deportivo then the situation would still be solvable. Even a relegation could be survived with Depor bouncing back last summer after one year in la Segunda. But the situation is very different from two seasons ago with the club from La Coruña, whose profligate financial past sees a very dangerous future.
In January, club president Augusto Lendoiro sought voluntary administration to tackle a crisis that saw players unpaid from the beginning of the campaign. Debts were reported by Lendoiro of €93m to a mixture of groups including banks, the tax office and Albert Luque. It was a staggering amount that looked impossible to pay off. Unfortunately, according to the administrators themselves, that figure wasn't the half of it. Almost literally. The real debts are reportedly €156m with the Spanish Tax Department claiming that €93m is owed to them rather than the €40m revealed by the Deportivo president.
The Spanish League Vice President Javier Tebas had said that there was a possibility that Deportivo as an institution could disappear within two to three years after a relegation to a division that would see an already pitiful income from TV deals (currently embargoed) shrink even further.
Spain's lower leagues are littered with teams who were in the top flight over the past ten years but are scrabbling around in the lower tiers of the game after financial collapses - sides such as Tenerife, Oviedo, Alavés, Albacete and Cádiz. It's a journey that fellow northerners Racing Santander are embarking on now, with the club on its fourth coach of the season and third-from-bottom of the second division after relegation last year.
It's these immensely unsettling issues that Deportivo's second coach of the campaign, Domingos Paciencia, saw as the root cause of why the Portuguese only stayed for six matches at the club, a run which produced just one win. "I wasn't able to motivate footballers if they had to think about how to pay their mortgage or for their kids' schools."
Fernando Vazquez, a coach who had not worked for five years, but is Galician through and through having managed both Santiago - another fallen giant - and Celta Vigo, was called at 1am on a Sunday night and asked to take over Deportivo in the middle of February. "It seems like a difficult mission, but not impossible," said Vazquez, who targeted eight wins from the side's remaining fixtures. So far, the new boss has only managed to produce one point from nine - last week's goalless draw in Riazor against Rayo Vallecano that had Vazquez admitting that the situation was severe.
After Saturday's visit to the Camp Nou, battles against three relegation rivals in Celta Vigo, Real Mallorca and Real Zaragoza are next in line before Depor end the season against more testing teams such as Atlético Madrid, Espanyol and Málaga. The problem is that the longer the side's bad run continues, which sees six defeats in the last seven matches, the harder it will be to mount any kind of recovery, never mind one that requires 24 points. "As we are now, it would be an amazing feat to stay up," admitted goalkeeper Dani Aranzubia.
Fran Gonzalez, who spent 14 years in Riazor between 1991 and 2005 warned that Deportivo was experiencing "the worst moment in the history of the club". The former midfielder isn't exaggerating. The side is in the hands of administrators, under the guidance of their third manager of the season and relying on footballers who are unpaid and may remain so for the rest of the campaign. Take a moment to enjoy a once majestic Deportivo at the Camp Nou on Saturday, a fixture that the visitors won three seasons out of four during the Super Depor days. It may well be your last.
Tim Stannard - follow him on Twitter