Barcelona has concluded what might be one of their worst seasons in recent years. The lack of consistency throughout the campaign has left everyone questioning the future of the club. We must acknowledge the factors that contributed to their bad season, from administrative scandals to questionable decisions on the field affected the team in terms of titles. The questions now are what’s next for Barcelona? Will this be the end of the line for the club? I will provide my point of view on this nightmare of a season that we saw from Barcelona and why a change is inevitable.
GUARDIOLA’S GHOST AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES
If you are considered one of the best clubs in the world it’s safe to say that in administrative matters you have to be perfect. Barcelona had clearly forgotten about this when they signed Neymar. He showed potential and was the ideal candidate to learn from Messi and become a superstar. It was all overshadowed by the fraudulent details that keep emerging even after 3 seasons of his day view. From misunderstandings to fraud claims and even fake amounts the list goes on, how much more of this can the directors handle? Money talks as they say. However, the Neymar case isn’t the only issue Barcelona faced this season, players like Mascherano and Messi have been involved in tax evasion cases. Both players had a chance to present arguments to evade jail time, but only Mascherano was able to clear his case as Messi still faces a 10-month jail period. How are the directors not aware of these kinds of activities? They would have saved themselves from the embarrassment that’s for sure. It was more than clear that Guardiola’s success made them think they were untouchable and that Neymar was only the beginning of a brighter future.
SIGNINGS THAT FAILED TO LIVE UP THEIR EXPECTATIONS
We are all victims of time and Barcelona wasn’t an exception. The majority of players that are in the team now have been there since Guardiola. Coming from a double win the previous season Luis Enrique planned a revolution to refresh the squad. It’s obvious that Messi, Iniesta, and Busquets are in need of some back up as Jordi Alba and Rakitic can’t play by themselves. The new signings were Andre Gomez, Samuel Umtiti, Alex Vidal, Jeremy Mathew and Arda Turan to name a few. The individual profiles covered the defensive, midfield and attacking lines a good plan that failed immediately due to their poor form. Alex Vidal took almost all season to discover his role in the team; sadly he suffered an injury that would rule him out all season. Arda Turan never managed to showcase the potential he showed at Atletico Madrid and was stuck on the bench. The worst cases were Mathiew and Paco Alcacer, the first one was never a favorite in defense and never proof to be worth his transfer fee. Alcacer, like Turan, failed to showcase the skills that made him key in Valencia and took half a season to score a goal! (He’s an attacking player!) a disgrace to say the least. Talk about bad luck right?
PSG AND BAD CHOICE MAKING FROM LUIS ENRIQUE
The constant injuries and the lack of trust from the manager sentenced the season. The lack of level from the new signings pushed Luis Enrique to use players more often than usual, causing fatigue and a slow rhythm of play on the field. The PSG game became a nightmare and a clear sign that the club had finally met their expiration date. Unai Emery had a perfect game that saw Draxler, Di Maria and Cavani showcase Barcelona’s weakness wit a 4-0 win. Making a memorable comeback wasn’t enough; Juventus would finish them off with outcast Dani Alves and Dybala as their leading men. This game was particularly special; it showed the world that Barcelona does not appreciate players and that they failed to cover up the spots once occupied by players like Puyol or Xavi. In my opinion, it was the constant reliability on Pique that caused many of the key defeats of the season, sadly Luis Enrique saw him as an irreplaceable player.
Barcelona has confirmed the transition process as they appointed Valverde as their new manager. They obviously want a new style of play, as the Tiki Taka is no longer effective. Thankfully Luis Enrique managed to enjoy the last stage of that deadly system. In terms of Valverde as a choice I think is a downgrade as he plays too defensively, something that will diminish Barcelona. The most Obvious proof of this is his lack of ambition at Atletic Bilbao, where he only won one super cup and failed to use the club’s true potential. Only time will tell what happens with this change if it fails we could be doomed to see a period of dominance from Real Madrid. If it doesn’t then who knows, we might keep dominating La Liga and that’s good news for uncertain periods like these. We must also appreciate the good memories that they provided us with over the years. European Nights filled with magic displays such as the one in Wembley or the 6-1 win over Madrid to name the best ones. These moments will be forever cherished by the footballing world thanks also in part to the legendary players that made all this possible. After all Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi were able to leave a mark, in a period were two individuals that have set the bar practically impossible to reach now dominate football.