F.C Barcelona reached their low point against Osasuna. Barca Lost 2-1 with a shambolic display. It was also the day Barca lost the league. Messi is having his worst season despite producing 40+ goal contributions. The past three seasons have been truly heartbreaking for every cule, including me. The problem isn’t just the coach or the players. It is deeper than that. The most apparent and genuine reason for the current state of our beloved club is Josep Maria Bartomeu and his Board.
As Messi said in a truly heartbreaking yet brutally honest fashion,
‘This game represents the entire year. We have been an erratic and weak team,’
He also added,
‘We have to be self-critical. Starting with the players but doing a global self-criticism. We are Barca and we have to win everything. We can’t look at Madrid…Madrid have done their job, but we have helped them a lot.’
He quite clearly is explaining his displeasure with the Board. Messi knows the Board is the main issue, like all of us. Let’s delve deep into this Board’s reign.
Some of the information was taken from the official Barcelona Site here.
After the resignation of Sandro Rosell, Josep Maria Bartomeu became President of F.C Barcelona on January 23rd, 2014. One of the main reasons F.C Barcelona have been stuck at zero since then is the horrible planning by the Board. There is no winning project. There is No planning in place at all.
Even before Bartomeu, Sandro Rosell had already turned F.C Barcelona from a truly prestigious football club to a business. Rosell did not believe in the club’s philosophy and was more concerned with signing big-money players to sell more shirts and earn more money. Bartomeu had the same ideology. But even though Rosell made big-money signings, most of them were reasonable and sensible signings that would help the team.
Bartomeu wasn’t concerned with that. He wanted to splash big money on players for the sake of splashing big cash on players.
As a result of that, F.C Barcelona is struggling both on and off the pitch. Bartomeu had to cut off 75% of the player wages to make up for the losses. The club’s financial situation was already poor; the Pandemic was just a catalyst for those financial problems to rise to the surface. Apparently, according to reports, the club will have to cover up losses of up to 150 million.
The current squad is another huge indicator of how horrible the planning by this Board has been. Against Alaves, Barca had only 16 squad players, and 2 of them were goalkeepers. That is ridiculous. That meant only three subs could be used. Some people joked that it was time to see Ter Stegan in midfield, and I was 100% behind that.
Signings Under Bartomeu And The Board:
This Board literally spent around 1 billion but has only made the club’s situation worse. I don’t want to be too cynical, but that’s just the reality of the situation. This Board never moved on from Neymar, and even to this day, they are trying to sign him back. To find a Neymar replacement, they signed Dembele for a record-breaking 105 Million. Later they signed Phillipe Coutinho for an initial £105 million, which could rise to £142 million with various clauses being met. The next big signing was Antione Griezzmann for $135 million.
So a total of 382 million was spent on these three players, and arguably none of them has worked out. Coutinho started well but eventually dropped off and felt like a shadow of his former self. He’s now on loan at Bayern. Dembele is a fantastic player, but is always injured, and the transfer fee paid for him was too high. He hasn’t proved his worth despite showing glimpses of greatness.
Griezzmann is a rather curious case. He hasn’t yet found his place. He has shown his quality at times, mainly against Villareal with that fantastic Messi-Esque chipped finish. Griezzmann has also scored 16 goals this season, which is quite decent. However, he has looked rough at times, not knowing what to do and has struggled to link up with Messi and Suarez. Griezzmann isn’t a striker, he usually plays behind the striker, and that’s what he has done most of his career. The Board should have known that it would be extremely hard to fit him in Barca’s system.
Same is the case with Coutinho. He isn’t a winger. He likes to drop deep like Messi. He was never going to take Messi’s place, so why sign him? It is no coincidence that Coutinho has been great whenever Messi did not play. Like the game against Levante that ended Barca’s unbeaten run in 2018. That’s because he was able to take up that free deep role on the wing.
Another rather shady move that Bartomeu and the Board made is the Arthur-Pjanic swap deal. Swapping a 23-year-old high potential player with a 29-year-old player is ridiculous. Nothing against Pjanic, he’s a fantastic player, and I am sure he will fit into the team well. But the team is already old, with the average age of the starting eleven rising up to 30.1 in some games. He would also take game-time away from younger players like Puig, Alena, Pedri.
Hiring, Sacking and treatment of Coaches:
It is no secret that coaches do not have any power whatsoever under this Board. They all do what the board demands of them. The Infamous Ernesto Valverde coached F.C Barcelona for two and a half years. All of the decisions and signings were made by the Board. He wasn’t allowed to have a say in almost any of them.
Valverde was a decent coach, but he should never have been appointed for F.C Barcelona. He was never the right fit for them. His style directly conflicted with the club. He never trusted Youth. He was not liked by the fans either. I think we can all agree that he should have been sacked after that horrendous and disgraceful second leg performance against Liverpool at Anfield. But the Bartomeu and the Board wanted to keep him for another season, and as we all know, it did not end up well.
After sacking Ernesto Valverde mid-season, they signed Quique Setien. But things never favoured Setien. He barely had a squad, barely had any players and most of the squad was in shambles psychologically. The season wasn’t going well. Setien is still the coach at this moment, and I hope things get better, but he should really have been appointed towards the start of the season and not mid-season.
F.C Barcelona needs a coach that commands respect, a coach that is fearless, a coach that implements the Barcelona Philosophy but also is able to control player power.
To conclude everything, I’d say Barca’s dominance under this Board has weakened season after season. With less than one year left until the elections, I can only hope the socios elect Victor Font. This Board needs to go. Barcelona needs a change, Bartomeu needs to go. But let’s be optimistic. Here’s to hoping that in 2021, Font gets elected and we finally push start a good winning project with Xavi as the Head Coach.
Do read our Editorial Review for Barca Vs Alaves here.
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