Last Friday, Spanish-side Barcelona have finally reached rock bottom, conceding eight goals in 90 minutes to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter finals.
This leaves manager Quique Setien to suffer from the same fate Ernesto Valverde did only in January: a sacking. Despite Valverde winning a few trophies, neither carried on the Barcelona name.
To the trained eye, it has been a long time coming. There have been a few tell-tale moments in Barca’s downfall within the past two years.
One of the first moments was the horrendous loss to Roma in the second leg after being 3-0 up. An infamous Manolas header sealed their fate for the 2018 year.
A year passed in La Liga, which was steady, but not up to Barcelona’s standards. Throughout the surrounding transfer windows, rumors riddled the team. Messi, the squad’s jewel, was reportedly unhappy. For the entire year during the windows, he was said to wanted to leave to reunite with his favorite manager Pep Guardiola. This left the entire team unsettled and it was noticeable on the pitch.
After surviving with Messi for the year, many fans also noted the switch in playstyle. Traditionally, Barca are known for Cruyff’s total football and Pep and Enrique’s tiki-taka. For the past two seasons, it just seemed as if it was “Get the ball to Messi”. This style was planted with Valverde and also plagued Setien.
Last season ended for Barca with another comeback loss in the semis to Liverpool, who went on to win the trophy. This was an iconic moment for Liverpool and is a loss Barca will ever forget.
Now, after passing through with Setien and Valverde being long-gone, Barca is not back to normal. The Messi rumors continued. His father was spotted in Milan, supposedly meeting with Inter Milan. Their front office also seems to have lost their minds.
One of their most promising talents, Arthur, was swapped with another old player, Miralem Pjanic from Juventus. They needed the money. They are almost desperate to get rid of a few of their players, such as Coutinho, Dembele and Semedo to raise the funds and get out of debt. In addition, countless La Masia talents have been sold off, such as Xavi Simons and Eric Garcia.
The recent loss to Bayern seems to be a nail in the coffin as it is one of the most humiliating defeats of all time.
Veteran Gerard Pique said, “The club needs changes of all kinds. I am the first to offer myself to leave if that is the best for Barca.”
After this, Barcelona can only hope to move forward, and that starts with flipping everything from the inside out.
Image: Sky Sports