Barcelona Is In Trouble
There needs to be more money, and the situation is becoming untenable. Let's understand what's going on.
What you need to know about Barcelona this season:
- It's the second team in Catalonia;
- It's the worst-performing team in "El Clásico."
Key Highlights of Barcelona's Season
The first point is clear: Barcelona lost to the sensational Girona at home and, most importantly, is currently below them in the table. As for "El Clásico," it's not just matches against Real Madrid; it also includes matches against Athletic Bilbao. Barcelona lost to Real in La Liga and the Supercup, and Bilbao has now eliminated them from the Copa del Rey. Yes, Barcelona defeated Athletic 1-0 in La Liga, but they lost 2-4 in the Cup. So, in terms of goal difference, Bilbao is ahead.
Last season, when Barcelona won La Liga and the Supercup, it served as a temporary shield, hiding the numerous problems of the club. Even with severe financial issues, one could live and win. Xavi was indeed the chosen one. Barcelona could have played better (except in some matches), but they got results. In the current circumstances, that's already a lot.
Financial Turmoil and Structural Challenges
In reality, the club's issues haven't disappeared. Money still needs to be recovered. Barcelona is constantly restructuring its payroll and seeking alternative sources of income. Hence, the trip to Dallas for a friendly match against America just a day after the game against Almeria. Or the demand from the sports director Decu that all leading players travel to the Champions League matches against Antwerp, which no longer had any significance because there was a bonus for winning! However, Antwerp secured the victory after the match with Barcelona, winning 3-2.
Barcelona needs to focus on something other than football. They do engage in it, but as if it's secondary. For Barcelona today, there are things much more crucial. The club still remembers its roots and still tries to behave ambitiously. However, these ambitions are backed by something other than anything. Today, Barcelona is surviving. And it's challenging to reconcile survival with significant victories.
Of course, financial difficulties lead to dissatisfaction and conflicts. Fans are unhappy with President Laporta, who promised them a bright future after Bartomeu's departure. Xavi is dissatisfied that the team is assembled like a second-hand shopping spree: occasionally, you find something suitable, but overall, you have to choose from discounted items outside their prime. He is also unhappy that, allegedly, referees help Real, while Barcelona (supposedly) is deprived of points.
Sports director Decu, who played with Xavi on the same team, is reportedly dissatisfied with him. Publicly, he praises the coach, saying that he acted courageously, taking over the club in such a difficult moment. But in Spain, they write that Decu regularly pushes Laporta to search for a new head coach. And there are questions about Xavi's results and style of play. However, on the other hand, who can guarantee better outcomes and improved gameplay under the current Barcelona conditions? Indeed, among the coaches whom Barcelona can afford now. A question...
Youth Opportunities and Squad Challenges
The Barcelona squad is literally patched together "from what was available." Throughout the season, the team has been plagued by injuries. Injuries happen to everyone, but some squads have more depth than others, unlike Barcelona. De Jong was out, Pedri was out for a long time, Gavi was absent, and Ter Stegen was absent for a long time. Only the goalkeeper was relatively easily replaced from this quartet - Inaki Peña surprisingly copes well. De Jong and Pedri were sorely missed when they were absent. Now Gavi is lacking, and Barcelona has lost much movement and aggression.
Roster problems create an opportunity for youth players. Barcelona has talented youth players, like Yamal, Fermin, and Balde, who are already experienced but still young - they are full-fledged first-team players. Some start more often, some less frequently, but in principle, they are relied upon here and now. Plus, Vitor Roque has arrived, Marc Guiu has scored after coming on, and recently, defender Cubarsí debuted.
Youth is great. It's daring and thrilling - but not stable. Barcelona might be glad not to give their "canteranos" so much playing practice, but they have no choice. There are simply no other players. And the youth, as they can, play and even bring benefits. The same Yamal is a real gem. But for now, these young players need to deliver more significant victories.
Last season, when Barcelona won two titles, the youth did not play in such quantities. Yes, there were Pedri and Gavi, but players like Lewandowski, Dembele, and Busquets showcased their class alongside them. Jordi Alba dragged the team incredibly in several matches. Now, Dembele, Busquets, and Alba are not on the team. Lewandowski is likely having his worst season since moving to the top leagues. Age (everyone gets older) and the fact that the Polish striker receives fewer quality balls than last season likely play a role. All of this accumulates, and now Lewandowski is yelling at Yamal for not passing the ball to him; talks are already circulating that Robert is thinking of leaving Barcelona.
Barcelona needed the King's Cup. They have already lost the Supercup, and the chance to win La Liga and/or the Champions League seems low. In such a situation, the Cup could improve the taste of the season, if not save it. Now, there won't be a Cup. And, unlike last season, there is no shield behind which Barcelona's difficulties can be temporarily hidden.
Does this mean that changes should be expected at Barcelona at the end of the season? Even Barcelona itself doesn't know. What to talk about – they probably don't fully understand what tomorrow will bring. What to say about the end of the season... First, they need to get through it.
Published by Patrick Jane