everything is bad for FC Barcelona
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It is widely believed that European football is the best in the world. If you are the best European team then the chances that you are by default are also the best team on the planet at the same time. Over the past thirty years we have seen a number of European teams achieve impressive winning streaks, where they have not only dominated their domestic league but also international competitions, aka the Champions League. One of the best examples of this has to be FC Barcelona.
Between 2005 and 2019, they won the Spanish La Liga title ten times. They have also won six Copa del Rey trophies, eight Supercopa de Espana and, most importantly, four Champions Leagues. Under Frank Rijkaard, Pep guardiola and Luis Enrique, the Catalan team managed to find ways not only to win, but to do so in a certain style, playing beautifully appealing football, which has been the envy of clubs around the world. It honestly looked like their time in the sun would last forever.
However, as we all know, sport is like life, in that it moves in cycles. At some point, the good times end and trophies stop being added to the cabinet. This has happened to Barcelona over the past two seasons, as they’ve gone from eternal title challengers to struggling mid-table. They were a favorite for fans looking for winning betting odds, but now they’re so unreliable that they tend to shy away from them. How come they started the season so badly? Not only in La Liga, but also in the Champions League? Let’s take a look at their results so far in the competition and find out what were the main factors that caused this rapid decline.
Two games, two losses, no goals scored
FC Barcelona have not started a Champions League campaign so badly since 1997. That year, they won only one of their six games, losing three and drawing two. Will this year be that bad? Considering the first two games, that possibility seems to become more and more likely.
In their first game, they hosted Bayern Munich at Camp Nou. Bayern and Barcelona have had classic encounters over the years, most of which have been fairly even. However, it was evident that power had shifted to Germany in recent years, as in the 2020 Champions League semi-final Bayern destroyed Barcelona, with the final score of 8-2 on the side. from Munich. Bayern was therefore expected to be in a better position for this game.
While the score wasn’t that ridiculous, it was still a resounding 3-0 victory over Bayern. It really should have been more, but it got to a point where it seemed like the German team had slipped their foot on the gas and almost gave up trying. Despite their best efforts, Barcelona couldn’t get into the game and never really seemed to score. It was humiliating for the Spanish team, with their supporters showing their frustration at the end of the game.
While Barcelona must have struggled in the opening week of the game, their second game against Benfica seemed to be easier, at least on paper. However, in less than three minutes, the Spanish team were behind and would concede twice more before the end of the game, to suffer their second consecutive 3-0 defeat in the Champions League. Things got even worse when defender Eric Garcia received a red card in the finals. Two games, six goals conceded, zero goals scored and zero points. Things are indeed very bad for the Catalan side.
Why is this happening?
One of the main reasons for Barcelona’s drastic drop in form has to be the loss of Lionel Messi. Arguably the greatest player of all time, for almost 17 years everything Messi touched turned to gold. He had scored 672 goals in 778 games, as well as 266 assists. The team was built around him, meaning they eventually became too dependent on the Argentinian to produce magic. He wanted to stay at the club, but due to their dire financial situation they had to let him go.
Another contributing factor is the very poor transfer activity that has been carried out over the past few years, bringing in players for huge fees, with huge salaries, who have underperformed. Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and Miralem Pjanic are all examples of players who have been recruited but have contributed very little to the squad. It remains to be seen if any of them have a future at the club.
Financial difficulties off the pitch also play a big role in Barcelona’s downfall as they grapple with huge debts. This could affect them for years to come, which means it may be some time before you see them perform by their previous standards in La Liga. This means they might not even qualify for the Champions League next year which would have been unthinkable before.
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