Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in the world in the recent past however the club has been facing a lot of turmoil within the club itself, there have been doubts about the leadership in the board and also there seems to be a recent conflict between the board and the players. Although the Barcelona has been able to win 5 La Liga Titles between 2010-20 the concern for the board has throughout the last decade has been the dominance in Champions league. The Catalan side was last able to win the Champions League in 2015 under Luis Enrique, the last season Xavi played before hanging his boots. The last three campaign in Champions League has been disappointing for the Barcelona fans, the defeats has been humiliating in every context with the salt in the wounds being the claims of Messi leaving the club after every Champions League exit.
The current Barcelona side is one that is aging having more than seven players that are over thirty and four almost touching the thirties, the match against Bayern in the quarter finals of the Champions League was one such display where the barca side was humiliated and destroyed. The dominance shown by Bayern was mainly due to the fast wing backs Davies and Kimmich, who were not only defending well but were so efficient in the wing to exploit the space given to them by Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo. The lack of dominant midfield trio has been haunting Barcelona ever since Xavi and Iniesta decided to call it a day, Rakitic was effective in the initial years but has recently failed to make his mark. Sergio Busquets has been the back bone of the midfield for a long time but as the saying goes ‘Age carries all things away even the mind’. Busquets has not been able to play the pivotal role he was known for, he used to fall back to the centre back role when the wing backs exploited the space through the lines giving a more stable defence incase of any counter attacks.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, the President of FC Barcelona, has called for the early elections for the Board (for which he won’t be running having already completed two tenures) in early March. The club requires some major changes throughout its structure from the Board to the dressing rooms. Bartomeu has referred to the current situation as one of a sporting crisis but it is more of an institutional crisis. The recent signings made by the board have failed to make an impact in the squad and the La Masia’s failure to produce quality players to represent the team has also been one of the main talking points. The date 25th November 2012 is very special for Barcelona as a Club because on this fateful day the Catalan side fielded 10 LaMasia graduates with Dani Alves being the only outsider, who was replaced by another La Masia graduate Martin Montoya. In the last four years, La Masia has only given Riqui Puig, Crales Alena and Ansu Fati who has been a constant part of the first-team squad. The Tiki-taka style has recently haunted the Barcelona side as the high pressing squads like Liverpool, Bayern, and Roma have been successfully able to counter the strategy by closing the spaces for the next pass thereby leaving the man in possession of the ball to commit an error. The pressure from the Board is evident on the players as the signings are not able to make a mark and are more of a financial burden on the club, the lack of opportunities for the young talent has also impacted the recent performance of the team. The impact and influence that Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati has left through their game is one such example of a lack of playing time for the budding talents of the Club.
Barcelona’s official statement read “The board of directors has agreed that Quique Setien is no longer the first-team coach. This is the first decision within the wider restructuring of the first-team which will be agreed between the technical secretary and the new coach, who will be announced in the coming days.” Ronald Koeman has been appointed as the new coach of the Barcelona side who has been appointed with the perspective of restructuring the Squad. His first statement about joining the club he said ‘It is a day to be very happy. Everyone knows that Barca for me is my home and having the possibility of training Barca is a Challenge.’ On being asked about the restructuring of the squad and letting go of important players he said ‘I don’t like to talk about individual players. I have to find what is better for the club. There are players of a certain age who may have doubts about their performance but we must respect all the players.’ On the aging players and changing the backbone of the team, he said ‘not at the beginning. A player with the age of 31 or 32 is not finished. It depends on how hungry the player is to still be here. There are 20 years old players without the hungeror work. We need the best team to win games, and work with people who want to give their best and nothing else.’
The Club has no doubt been in the cross wires and the recent defeat was one such final nail in the coffin, and now it’s time to bury the past and take a forward step in the direction of change. The club needs to work out on its issues quickly and fluently before it faces the issues that have been a big problem for clubs like AC Milan and Manchester United to solve in recent years. Every club goes through the ups and downs but it’s all about being able to recover from such blows and come back with a resonating power. There are definitely going to be changes in the club with Messi’s future still a puzzle for yet another year, will the aging Barcelona be able to mark itself as one the superpowers of the modern football is yet to be seen the next season.
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