As Barcelona surrendered to Osasuna in a 2-1 defeat yesterday, the electrifying La Liga title race finally came to a close with rivals Real Madrid being crowned Champions.
The 26-time Spanish champions have been struggling to pick up this season. Dropping 9 points in the last 10 matches, Barcelona has brought this doom upon themselves.
Not winning the La Liga title weighs heavier on the Catalans, as they are already out of the Copa Del Rey & have slim chances in the UCL. This could thus lead to them going trophyless for the very first time since 2007-08.
As the fans remain disappointed and discontented from the club’s performance, FC Barcelona right now is in the middle of a struggle. Having reached the summit under Pep Guardiola & Luis Enrique, the club has been tumbling down & skipper Lionel Messi seems quite unhappy with it.
The frustration was visible when the Argentine scored a brilliant free-kick to equalize with Osasuna. Rather than celebrating a goal, his reaction brought out his frustration and highlighted the vanity of that beautiful goal.
The Argentine in a post-match interview with Movistar came out clean and admitted to the fact that the team’s performance has not been up to the mark.
“We didn’t want to end the season like this but it represents how the season has gone. We were a very erratic, very weak, low-intensity team. We lost a lot of points and today’s game is a summary of the season.
If we continue like this, we will lose the game against Napoli”
– Lionel Messi
Pondering through the same, we are struck by the harsh reality. Lionel Messi lately has been the only player at Barcelona giving his best. He has scored 23 goals and provided 21 assists in the league, which is a direct contribution of a monstrous 54% of the total goals scored by the club. The struggling attack has had players battling injuries throughout the year – starting with Dembele, Suarez & now Greizmann!
The current situation is bad and the Argentine is helpless. He doubts the future success of the 2019-20 campaign as well.
Unafraid to take a blow from the press, he hints at past failures as well to highlight their defeat.
“Roma, Liverpool… the fans are running out of patience because we’re not giving them anything. If we want to fight for the Champions League,
a lot has to change.
All we have been through from January to now has been very bad.
We have to change many things for sure”
– Lionel Messi
While some may label the interview as disrespectful towards the club and the board, Lionel Messi did not intend that. He was speaking for millions of fans and the team who are all hanging high and dry facing the consequences of an underperforming team & unfitting decisions from the board.
The manager Qique Setien at the same time refuses to admit his mistakes. Battling mass criticism himself, the Spaniard is not sure of his future with the club and refuses to take blame for the team.
“The sensations are full of sadness and frustration. The defeat is unfair; losing La Liga isn’t because we dropped points that we should have won.
I’m happy with many things that we have improved in the time I have been here, but it wasn’t enough to win La Liga. We’ve worked conscientiously, but this is a sport and things do not always go as you want them to go.”
– Qique Setein
Despite Setien’s defense, his words do not seem to be convincing. Having had the team knocked out of the Copa Del Rey by Athletic Bilbao followed by the bottling up of a 2-point margin in La Liga in mere 10 games, he has probably lost the faith of all supporters & players.
While the change of manager remains a major future concern for the club, they currently face an even bigger battle.
The constant internal conflict and accusations about the inability of the management board have been problematic. The current President Josep Bartomeu is also weary of the defeat and walks away from any criticism. He is accused of tainting the club heritage and not valuing La Masia’s tradition of the club. He was also labeled to be entering into certain transfer deals, not for the welfare of the club, but for rather “Balancing the books”.
Amid all the chaos that the club encounters, one should remember that though the quality of football at Barcelona has been falling, the GOAT remains there.
Lionel Messi’s extraordinary capabilities are not being utilized to the fullest. The six-time Ballon D’or winner is overburdened with the pressure to perform and is often annoyed with the club administration’s behavior.
The situation has escalated to a level where the Argentine has even refused to extend his current 2021 contract with the club for the time being. Several people including former players Rivaldo and Joan Laporta have also expressed their concerns around the same.
“Messi’s renewal? I want Messi to be at Barça in 2021, but I am afraid that a bad decision by the board could lead to an irreversible decision.”
– Joan Laporta
The crisis is deep & change of attitude necessary.
The club needs to realize that inconsistency is not acceptable with the high standards that the club has set for itself.
Barcelona now should look at securing its future. Focusing on finding a suitable manager and players for the team can help the same. Treatment of the current players and attitude towards the team also needs to be mended. Messi should be regarded well, so should other prodigies Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati, Clemet Lenglet & all other players that can do wonders for the club.
As they say, the only good thing about hitting rock bottom is that it leaves with no option but you rise again. Will Barcelona live up to its glorious reputation? Only time will tell.