After Barcelona’s devastating defeat to Bayern Munich we look back.
At the start of the last decade Barcelona were the pinnacle of club football. Yes they were about to watch their arch-nemesis Jose Mourinho lift the Champions League with Inter Milan but they were the kings of the world. Their team was a perfect blend of experienced signings and superstar academy products led by a tactical revolutionary.
2020 has been an astonishing year so far for Barcelona and that is without mentioning the issue between the board and players regarding a potential pay-cut or taking into account that their league season was suspended for three months due to a global pandemic. Or that reports have emerged casting doubt over the future of Messi. To crown it all off, on Friday evening they were humiliated by Bayern Munich.
Yet 10 years later what do Barcelona have to show for it? Pep Guardiola won one more Champions League title in 2011 before calling it a day at the club citing fatigue. Since his departure the team has only one more European title whilst eternal rivals Real Madrid have won four.
And here we are today, Barcelona finished second after La Liga’s return from the coronavirus suspension, having been overtaken by Real. They have suffered one of the most embarrassing defeats in the club’s history after throwing away big first-leg leads in previous years against Roma and Liverpool.
You can certainly understand the Argentine’s frustration; for years his brilliance has masked the failings of those above him and there is an argument to be made that his prime has been completely wasted. You couldn’t blame him for considering his options.
Realistically you would expect Messi to see out his career with Barcelona, despite these recent reports, before a season or two back in Argentina perhaps but even if that is the case something has to give. Is it unfair to pin everything on the board? Possibly, but the nature of the way the club is run means that the buck stops with them, there is no delegation in that regard. If they are so keen for the glamour of the role they have to accept the judgement that comes with it as well.
When the club was well-run, and well-coached, they were the best in the world, the pinnacle for everyone else. What are they now? One of the best five teams in Europe? Possibly not to be honest, and even if they are how much of that is down to Messi?