All good things come to an end and it seems like the good times are coming to an end for FC Barcelona. The new decade is going to be a tough one for Barca fans.
The famous and arguably, most talented graduates of La Masia, who carried the club to numerous titles, are approaching the end of their careers. Xavi and Iniesta from the famous Pep Guardiola era have already left, and the likes of Messi, Pique, and Busquets are in their thirties and in the twilight of their careers.
Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and Jordi Alba have also joined the thirties club with only one or two years of their best football remaining. The signs are worrying and the new transfers haven’t worked despite a ridiculous amount of cash splashed in recent years. The club’s soaring debt is also not helping the cause amid the time where players cost a fortune.
The quality of graduates out of La Masia is not the same as it used to be 15 years ago and it is obvious that the management does not have faith in the new generation of players to carry the club forward. There are some like Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig and Charles Alena, but they are yet to prove themselves at the highest level.
Since the club won the Champions League title in 2005-2006 season, it rose to new heights and saw a long period of success, longer than most golden eras in other football clubs which makes the decline harder to swallow.
From then, until 2019, FC Barcelona has won 9 La Liga titles and 3 Champions League trophies. The most successful period in club’s history was under Pep Guardiola where he led the club to a historic 14 trophies in 4 years and then Barcelona FC also became the first football team to win the sextuple in the world but now that is also a memory.
That FC Barcelona team was a joy to watch and now, this team has sunk to new lows that has left them in embarrassment for successive Champions League campaigns.
The problems are also becoming evident in the boardroom and management. Valverde, who has had the faith and backing of Bartomeu and Abidal was sacked after a Spanish Super Cup defeat, his only fault in what seemed like a flawless season: FC Barcelona was top of the table in La Liga and progressed to CL knockouts by finishing top in their group.
Through the lens of the media, fans believed that the players did not like the ideology of Valverde who was very defensive in his approach and suppressed the exciting tiki taka. This was all put to bed when top players including, Suarez, Messi and Pique, paid their tributes to the freshly sacked coach via their social media accounts.
Then Quique Setien arrived and he was backed to make immediate impact, but has failed to live up to the expectations in his first few matches as head coach.
It now seems that Valverde was perhaps steering a ship that was already half sunk, and leading this unstable team to two La Liga leaves him as the most underrated coach.
The problems actually lie between the players and the management. Just a day ago, Messi took to social media and responded to comments made by Abidal.
Messi, otherwise humble, was upset that Abidal had spoken on behalf of the players and things he said weren’t true. Below is a snapshot of thr story from Messi’s official instagram account.
Messi circled part of Abidal’s words in his interview to a newspaper which are translated as
“Many players weren’t satisfied or working hard and there was also an internal communication problem.”
Read about the January Winter Transfer of the English Premier League, here.
Messi reply (translation):
“Sincerely, I don’t like to do these things but I think that people have to be responsible for their jobs and own their decisions.
“The players [are responsible] for what happens on the pitch and we are the first to admit when we haven’t been good. The heads of the sports department have to take their responsibilities too and, above all, own the decisions they make.”
Messi scathing reply has sent shockwaves around the world, especially FC Barcelona boardroom. Abidal’s rookie error has put the future of FC Barcelona best player’s extended stay at risk.
Now the question is: how are things going to be for the club after the little maestro decides to hang his boots?
Hassaan Shahid is a sports fan and regularly plays cricket in local tournaments in Queensland, Australia. He follows Esports and football very closely too. You can follow him on Instagram.
Furqan is a marketing professional in the tech sector and an avid sports lover. He is a devout follower of cricket, football and tennis. You can follow him on Twitter.
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