After an admirer of Barcelona, I started to gain more understanding of the club. While I like the first team a lot, I spotted a few things which made me feel a bit uncertain about the future of Barça.
Well, I’m no expert in football, but from my perspective as a follower myself, here are the 5 reasons that FC Barcelona is actually being assessed too highly as a football club.
Reason 1 – Dependence on Leo Messi.
Without a doubt, Messi is one of the best players in both the history of Barcelona and the world. He’s talented, hard-working and loved by supporters. Well, not only football fans but also, pundits and managers around the globe.
Let’s be honest, though. We all know what happens when Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid. They paid the price, are lacking attacking options with almost all of their strikers misfiring. And seriously, it’s not laughable.
Yes, it’s frustrating to be a Madridista these days, but bear in mind that if Barcelona doesn’t learn from the mistake made by their arch-rivals, the team would be teased at if they’re experiencing the same in the “post-Messi” era.
Football is a team sport. Messi makes everything easier on the pitch but he can’t play forever for Barcelona. The sad thing is that we can’t reverse time to get Messi in his peak form. So deal with it, Culés.
Reason 2 – Their tactics are way too attack-focused.
From the transfer rumours, we know that Barcelona are mainly talking about Neymar, de Jong and Rabiot. While these are essential to Valverde’s “4-3-3” system, they’re missing the essential piece of the puzzle.
Two words needed only. The defence. It may seem not to be a big problem for the team but if Valverde and the scouts of the club don’t realise this, it’ll cost their chances of getting titles in the future.
Piqué is old (31) and started to be error-prone. Jordi Alba is the sole, senior left-back in his position with an inexperienced Miranda as his backup. Valverde should pray that he won’t get injured or he’ll be doomed.
I have no problems with the rest of the defence (e.g. Umtiti, Lenglet and Semedo) but they should also get rid of a few players – with former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen included – who are not needed in the team.
Some may argue that “attack is the best defence”. But in my opinion, not really. You can’t create a defence which can keep clean sheets every time you play but without a coherent defence, having an excellent attack is nothing.
You can’t stage comebacks every time like that magical night at Camp Nou. Just saying.
Reason 3 – No real leadership at the back despite having Piqué.
I miss Carles Puyol. He’s not just a defender with curly hair and nods in headers. He’s a leader in the dressing room and is exactly the kind of personality the current Barcelona dressing room need.
Every time I see the goals that the Barcelona defence conceded, I feel that they could have done better in pressing and marking opposition strikers. They’re always outnumbered in their own half and this isn’t a positive sign.
Piqué, as the most experienced defender in the team, should be able to command the defence. Nevertheless, it seems that he either didn’t want to or is helpless in this issue. Well, if he’s not the solution, he’s the problem.
Reason 4 – Lack of focus on La Masia as a football academy for the future.
In recent years, Barcelona employs, mostly, a “transfer-based” approach for the development of the first team. Current members, like Suárez, Umtiti and Arthur Melo, are mostly from various countries and clubs around the world.
While there’s no guarantee that they’ll get chances, this is the truth in football, where a competitive environment ensure that the best players will stand out.
At the same time, La Masia may have produced some talents for the team, like Carles Aleñá, Munir and Sergi Roberto. However, not all of them have the chance to prove themselves under Valverde.
The internationals will be given the priority to be in the starting lineup for their abilities. Nonetheless, youngsters – like Chumi, Riqui Puig and Abel Ruiz – deserve to participate in La Liga football, not just in the Copa del Rey.
If the head coach decided to focus on the transfer market instead of their “escolas”, La Masia will only become a place for wannabe stars to dream about being “the next Messi” while crushing them with the harsh fact of reality.
Reason 5 – Too commercialised, mainly on the players and image of the club.
As I’ve mentioned before, Messi is more than just a footballer playing for Barcelona. He may only a part of the club’s history, but his contributions to the club are astonishing. This is why fans are seeing him as an idol.
Without a doubt, the “Messi 10” jersey is one of the most selling kits in the world. The other stars, like Coutinho, Luis Suárez and Dembélé, also get their own franchise. Just visit the FCBotiga and you’ll know why.
Players in this era aren’t just Tom, Dick and Harry who kick the balls for a living. They’re money makers for their clubs too. As a fan who supports a club under a tycoon who sees the club as a cash cow, I’m not surprised at all.
Frankly speaking, Barcelona no longer produces “star players”. They get them from the other clubs and brand them as “stars”. When they leave, either they fade away (like Alex Song) or shine elsewhere (like Paco Alcácer).
Yes, players come and go. Ronaldinho retired while Iniesta departed from the club to join Vissel Kobe in Japan. And for Messi’s case, it’ll be a bit special since there’s only one Leo Messi.
While the current model can help the potential supporters to make their decision in supporting a club and to boost revenue for them. The bad thing is, it associates with the arrival of the so-called “talents” in football.
I’m pretty sure that with Barcelona’s own branding, there won’t be a shortage of players who want to be a part of the Blaugrana squad. The thing is, who’ll be the “next star” when Messi retires? I, honestly, don’t know.
To survive in the football world, Barcelona need both “stars” of the sport and local talents in their squad. Perhaps Bartomeu should think of this. For real and with deep considerations with it.
I like FC Barcelona as both a team and a club as they play good football with a distinctive brand of Catalan pride. However, as someone who follows the club, they’re far from perfect, just like any other team else.
With a defensively inferior team and a lack of planning for the future, Barça will still be a football club with a wide, global influence but it all depends on how Josep Bartomeu and his men will manage the association.
It’s about decisions and a clear direction. Right now, Barcelona are doing fine but without a clear picture in the heads of the management of the club, things may not be in their favour. It’s their choice, after all.