A lot has been said about how F.C Barcelona are in turmoil and how the horrible planning, the political shenanigans, the lack of a winning project and little to no trust in youth have all been major contributions to the downfall of possibly one of the most stylistic, strong, determined and successful clubs to ever grace the football pitch.
How did a club that won so lavishly against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United to secure a UEFA Champions League title in one of the most famous and well-remembered matches in Sports History drop down so much that it lost two consecutive second leg games through 3-0 and 4-0 comebacks from Roma and Liverpool in the UCL? A club that hasn’t won the most prestigious club trophy in almost 5 years. A club that has forgotten its own foundation, philosophy, and style of play.
However, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. I believe the club will return to its roots and achieve success again, but it will take time. That’s what we are going to explore in this article.
The first reason is the current Barcelona Board that has caused a lot of distress, problems, and controversy among the fans and the club itself. Everything they have done is questionable and from the looks of it, Barca fans will have to endure this controversy and distress for about another year. And I don’t think the club can be fixed instantly after they leave. Whether the next president is Laporta, Victor Font, or someone from the current board(I hope not), it will take time to rebuild, restart, and fix.
The current financial situation of the club is also a major hurdle that the next president or board will have to overcome. Judging from current events it’s fair to say that Barca are in deep financial trouble. The club had to cut short 75% of the player wages to compensate for the losses and to pay the staff and the workers. No other club has even asked for such a huge wage cut, which tells us a lot about Barca’s situation.
The club was already in financial trouble, the pandemic was just a catalyst to bring all the troubles to the surface. Recovering from massive financial losses and gaps like these will take a lot of time. The business will have to be intricate and very well thought-out beforehand with a clear plan. That always takes time. There will have to be a completely new financial and business strategy. Only a new board with a long-term project can guarantee that.
The average age of Barcelona’s starting line-up against Napoli in San Paolo in the Round of 16 of the Champions League was 28.3 years, the highest of the round of 16 line-ups in the first leg of this round. That is extremely alarming and a big issue that can only be fixed with time.
It will take a lot of time to get rid of the old players by either selling them or letting them retire to make room for younger, more hungry, and more passionate players. There are a lot of deadwood players to get rid of as well that just don’t fit in the squad. Many believe that a whole squad overhaul is needed and that will always take time and require faith and patience. Trust in Youth and the La Masia Academy is key to achieving this.
Limiting player power is also something that is necessary and requires time. The Barcelona squad is also psychologically in shambles it seems. Recovering from the horrors of the Roma and Liverpool catastrophes will take time, effort, a winning mentality, and a firm coach that knows how to motivate the players.
The reason me and all Barca fans perhaps most dread is MESSI. The little magician won’t be here longer than 2-3 years. He’ll be 33 in some weeks and some would argue he is declining. Obviously, he still wins us games single-handedly and is still the best player to ever grace the sport and possibly one of the best athletes ever and is still creating insane stats and numbers, but he is declining. He has lost pace, he has lost the flair he once had. The GOAT can still dribble past the entire defense but not in the way he used to. Messi can’t dribble past the whole team in a swift manner anymore. He doesn’t have the same work-rate he used to have. He’s still our talisman and we rely on
him heavily but perhaps that IS the issue. The dependency on Messi is a big issue. Once he retires, there will be big gaps and voids to fill. Recovering from the habit of relying on Messi and his magic would prove to be very hard.
He’s the playmaker, the goalscorer, the offensive midfielder, the winger and everything goes through him in attacks. He also links the midfield to the attack. To fill Messi’s shoes Barca will need all those things and no one is as gifted as Messi. So Barca will need a playmaker, a goalscorer, an offensive midfielder, a winger and so much more. That will take a tremendous amount of time and requires patience.
Taking the Club back to its foundation, values, philosophy, and style of play is also a major factor. Fans have been crying out for positive, possession-based attacking football since Pep Guardiola left. Luis Enrique continued the philosophy but amended it a lot but Ernesto Valverde destroyed it and brought bland and boring football to the Camp Nou. However, Quique Setien is trying to reinvigorate the Cruyffian Philosophy that the club and himself have in common but perfecting it is nearly impossible at this moment. Perfecting it will take time and experimentation with the right type of players.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and it will take a lot of time to completely start fresh and compete at the highest level and most importantly achieve success.
But I’m very optimistic. The whole world knows how a certain someone called Josep Bartomeu has caused a lot of issues and is continuing to do so and it looks like almost everyone has lost faith in him and his board. That’s a good thing.
It is very likely that the next President will be Victor Font and in my humble opinion that is perfect. I know there are some controversies surrounding him as well and cases can be built around it but I believe he is a perfect choice. He genuinely seems like someone who cares about the club, its values, its philosophy and knows how to implement a winning project. So if we give him time, good things and good times can once again bless Futbol Club Barcelona again.