Barcelona‘s season is practically over even tho the club has a chance of re-setting the record for Most Copa del Rey wins and also setting the record for most consecutive Copa del Rey won.
All these might seem like something to be jubilant over but Barcelona fans are still hurting, that Champions league disappointment still hurts.
Barcelona fans have become accustomed to winning, dominating that a league double and exit at semi final of the Champions league pale in comparison to our expectations.
Messi and Guardiola have shaped the picture of Barcelona in Europe in recent years. Barcelona should always be the team to beat and we definitely are not the team to throw away a 3-goal lead talk less of doing it in consecutive Champions league campaigns.
That been said Barcelona has to deliver next season and no it is not just about winning UCL anymore. It is about our identity, we need to be reassured that the future looks good.
And here is a breakdown of what the TEAM needs
1. IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON
All kudos to players like Pique, Busquets, Rakitic, Suarez, Messi, Alba for all they’ve done and what they’ll still do for us but maybe the fact that we still have to rely on these players says a lot about the club right now.
These players are World class and all and they’ve all attained that level and don’t really have much to fight for (apart from Messi that contends for Balon d’Or, Golden boot etc year in-year out).
These players have won every trophy they could possibly contend for and at their age I don’t blame them if they take their foot off the pedal when they go up 3 goals in the first leg of a Champions league match because in their head, they know what they can do and they can’t picture losing such a lead that they actually forget to put in the effort to match their thoughts.
If you remember how Liverpool played you’ll notice that drive, that need to win something. Barcelona lacked that on that night in Anfield, same thing last year in Rome.
The best things these players can give us is to allow Valverde (or any coach that takes over) to use them less allowing new players to take that center stage.
2. MESSI CAN’T SAVE US EVERYTIME
Even I as a fan got so comfortable that I expect Messi to always pop up and save the day, and Messi too spoils us so much that he rarely disappoints. Messi has become that player for Barcelona that scoring a goal doesn’t count as a good day in office for him, he has to score 2, 3 add assists, bang in free-kicks before we can say he has a great game.
He has set the bar so high that even fans see the awesome performances as basic but he is HUMAN, he has a wife and kids too and yes he is exemplary both on and off the pitch but he breathes just like the rest of us and he is just one player out of 11 that keeps pulling the team with different players each season.
Our other players too have gotten so comfortable with Messi working the magic that subconsciously they don’t even try to when he is around.
Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-1 when Messi was out injured so we can’t really say these players don’t have it in them, but the attitude changes when Messi is in the squad even when he is on the bench they keep wallowing till he comes in to save the day.
It would be unfair however to pin this on Messi but what if his shadow is too big for some of our (attacking) players to cope in. We obviously won’t sell Messi, but the coach has to find a way to make the team less dependent on the Messi-magic.
3. FANS SHOULD GIVE ROOM FOR NEW PLAYERS TO GROW INTO THE TEAM
Some players make instant impact after joining a team, some of them need time. Yes, the transfer fees these days has gotten so exorbitant, but so is the revenue generated from the game. Clubs make more these days so it is normal it translates to the players as they are at the center of it all so criticizing a player because he costs the club so much is outright dumb.
Last year it was Dembele, this year it was Coutinho. The annoying part about Coutinho’s criticism is it is partly down to the coach too. Last I remembered, Coutinho was cited as Iniesta’s replacement not Neymar’s and I remember also that Iniesta has had to play left wing for Barcelona too and he wasn’t especially spectacular when he played there.
Now the coach plays him out on the left and everyone turns on him. A player that risked being hated by his former club just to put on the Blaugrana jersey. I am ashamed of our fans for this… truly I am.
4. BARCELONA DIDN’T GET TO WHERE THEY ARE BY SPENDING HUGE SO WHY START NOW?
Barcelona has made some questionable moves in the transfer market recently and they are still following that same trend.
The Barcelona I know buy players purposefully focusing on young players that can be inducted into the Barcelona style of play and our youth team that already has these players. Now we are spending just for the sake of it.
Maybe the board needs to reanalyze their stance on these things. Barcelona should focus on creating their own stars not buying established stars from other clubs and most importantly not treating every new signing as a Messiah (not expecting them to make a huge impact and solve all our problems)
5. KEY POSITIONS SHOULD BE FILLED WITH YOUTH INSTEAD OF EXPERIENCE
Barcelona need a striker, left back, left winger and a right-sided center-back and it is advisable we get young players for these position and work on them rather than buy established stars and expect their miracle.
Striker – Upfront we need a player that can play our style of football and has room to grow. Someone with drive and determination that wont expect to start every game but will rather work hard to show they’ve got what it takes. I know the club is leaning towards Griezmann but they’ve got to consider if they want to buy a player for just 1/2 good seasons (depending on how long it takes him to adapt) or player that once he is up to speed can go for 4 or 5 more years. I’d say Nicolas Pepe, Rashford, Dybala, Joao Felix are better alternatives and most of them would cost less if not all.
Left-back – At left back I refuse to believe Miranda would not mature into a great left-back but if the board is keen on signing another, please go for Ferland Mendy not Filipe Luis. Alba is 30, Luis is 33… that simply does not make sense.
Left-winger – And yes we need a left winger, we have no ‘natural’ left winger in our team. YES… even Dembele’s preferred position is on the right (at least before coming to Barcelona). His best performances for us has been on the right also; wonder goals against Tottenham, Chelsea.
Left wing is not really a priority tho as we have players that can try to fill it up but we sold Neymar and bought 3 players (Dembele, Malcom, Coutinho) whose preferred position isn’t as a left winger. I wonder what the board is doing.
Centre-back – A right-sided centreback also isn’t that much of a priority too as we have Todibo who in my opinion is ready for first-team action if he is not loaded with unnecessary expectations. Even though every Barcelona fan wants ‘de Ligt‘ at the club I’ll say we can invest the money better to strengthen other positions.
Also we don’t need any more central midfielders, we got experienced lads in Busquets, Rakitic; we have Vidal that has shown his grit, we have Sergi Roberto that can come in and perform if needed, we have wonderkid ‘de Jong‘ coming in, we have Coutinho that needs to go back to midfield, we have Arthur that has shown he is ready to step up, we have Alena who is patiently working himself into the side and also Puig whose potential is there for all to see.
Semedo also shouldn’t be allowed to leave and if Sergi Roberto has to be moved into midfield, Wague is more than capable of filling in, the coach just needs to have faith
6. THE COACH
I still maintain that Valverde is a very good coach who slips up once in a while and even tho he repeated the Roma nonsense at Anfield refusing the shift gear into attacking when it showed we were losing grips on the game I expect the board will give him 1 more year. However, if he is under such scrutiny he might not be bold to make the changes the club needs and hence might lead to a nervy season. But I refuse to believe the fault is entirely his.
That been said… if Valverde implements the necessary changes we will see a new Barcelona but it remains to be seen if the board is as patient as I am but either way I don’t expect an immediate impact but with the right moves we can secure another long period of dominance.
The coach is being blamed for not wanting to rotate players but I feel the veterans has say in that also, and for the sake of the bigger picture they should allow the coach freedom to bench them if he wants to (without complaining) so a new generation of players can return Barcelona back to the glory days.
The earlier we recycle the team, the better. A lot of teams have gone down because they refused to… Barcelona fans need something to believe in… Força Catalan!!! Més que un club