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Barcelona needs a Champions

     Barcelona is known as one of the biggest football clubs in the 21st century. Winning 4 Champions League in the last 20 years had made of the azulgranas one of the most famous clubs around the world.

Undoubtedly, players such as Neymar, Luis Suarez, and Messi have made  Barcelona not only one of the greatest teams athletically speaking, but also the football club with one of the biggest numbers of fans around the world.

Nevertheless, the 450 million fans that Barcelona has, haven’t celebrated the obtaining of a Champions League trophy for a while now. We could say that the cules hadn’t been able to stay at the top of the world since Pep Guardiola left the club. And even though they manage to win a Champions League with Luis Henrique in 2015, the club didn’t maintain the same level of that year on the years that followed.

Pep´s Barca

That is why we came here to write about the failure that Barcelona would be in case they don’t win the Champions League in the current or next season.

To begin with, we can say that Barcelona has the best football team in terms of footballers. The squad depth and the quality of each player make hard to believe that any other team has the same quality. Furthermore, Barca not only has a great squad as they also have ensured a bright future with some young players that are currently showing a fantastic form. Firpo, de Jong, Fati, Dembele, and Puig, are players that would probably make their definitive explosion in some years.

But why does such a team have to conform with just winning La Liga year by year when they have the potential to win the Champions League now and in the future? Well, that is one of the reasons why Barcelona would be a failure if they can’t win a Champions League in the current or coming season. Such a great team plagued with so many stars shouldn’t expect just to win La Liga at the beginning of the season.

Another important point to highlight is that this Barcelona has had one of the two best footballers of the last 15 years, Lionel Messi. And regardless of the fantastic football that the Argentine displays on the field, this whole Messi era in Barcelona has witnessed how their eternal rivals Real Madrid became Europe’s conquerors by winning 3 Champions in a row (2016, 2017, 2018) without forgetting 2014 one. If we take into account that Messi didn’t play the 2006 Champions League final, we could say that since Messi became a regular starter in Barcelona´s line up, Real Madrid has won more Champions than Barcelona, which is something worrying for Barcelona as even with the best footballer they hadn’t been able to close the gap with Real Madrid.

Truth is that Messi is one of the best footballers of the history, but normally when Barcelona is through difficult times, he doesn’t seem to be the kind of leader that a team needs. It is easy to stand out when the whole team is playing perfectly and the match is going as planned but true leaders show up especially in the worst scenarios and that is something that Messi hasn’t accomplish, we just need to go back to Barcelona´s last eliminations from the Champions with the defeats against Roma in 2018 and with Liverpool last year.

Messi after Barca´s defeat against Liverpool

Moving on, Barcelona spent a fair amount of money in the current season, bringing some worldwide quality players to the team. Having spent a total amount of 273 million euro players of the magnitude of Griezmann and Frankie de Jong plus Junior Firpo and Ansu Fati became part of Barcelona´s squad among others.

Unfortunately, neither Griezmann or de Jong has proven their real capacities, which make us think that either they are having a tough time adjusting to Barcelona playstyle or that Barca is having a problem when developing their playstyle, which may be a manager issue. But that is something that Barcelona cannot allow to them self’s because a team that spends such a great amount of money is a team that is probably waiting that their investments pay off, individually and collectively speaking.

However, it is true that in many cases when a team is not working how it is supposed to, the manager is the one to blame. No, we are not saying that in all the cases the manager is responsible for a team’s poor performance, but in the majority of cases it is like that, and Barcelona is no exception to the rule.

Sometimes, giant clubs believe that they don’t need to hire a great manager because great footballers play in their way when they are on the field, in other words, the manager is a secondary character. 

Throughout the last 8 years, Barcelona has had this problem. After Guardiola departed from Camp Nou the azulgranas hadn’t hire any important manager, at least not a worldwide known one. They prefer to stick with people from the club, like Tito Vilanova (2012 – 2013) and Luis Henrique (2014 – 2017). And it is fine to do it because at some point they just want to keep Barca´s DNA within the squad playstyle, but sometimes it seems that the purpose behind those gambles is that this Barcelona doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on a new manager.

Setien, for example, is a good manager, but when Valverde left Barca´s bench at the beginning of the year, we all expected the hiring of a world-class manager. Yes, perhaps Setien is a manager that likes his team to play just like Barcelona does, but Barcelona´s problem is that they underestimate how difficult it is to manage a group of stars. For instance, a great club doesn’t need a great manager in terms of tactical approaches but someone that is strong enough to manage the dressing room successfully which is something that in many cases is not taken into account when appointing a new manager.

Setien as Barcelona´s manager

A great example of a team that just like Barca trusted more in their stars than the manager was the Real Madrid of the galacticos, a team plagued with the best footballers of the world (Zidane, Beckham, Ronaldo, Figo) but that just won 2 league titles and 1 Champions in 6 years. Just like Barcelona now, that Real Madrid never had a great manager and despite having the best footballers, in the great picture that Madrid was a failure.

This Barcelona seems to be a conformist team, not only silverware speaking but also in the way that they had been managing the project since Guardiola left. They had been similar to that Real Madrid of the galacticos as they have failed to succeed in Europe even when the best players of the world play in the team. It might be the manager, it might be the lack of competitiveness on the squad or maybe just bad luck, but the truth is that if this Barcelona doesn’t win the Champions.

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