Barcelona put an end to one of the worst years in its recent history, out of the positions that give access to the Champions League the next season and leaving in evidence some deficiencies that force him to wander plunged into a growing decline. The draw against Eibar at the Camp Nou this past Tuesday was the confirmation. A new image that photographs the worrying reality of a club in a sporting, economic and institutional crisis, in which his highest star wants to leave. A team that has won less than half of the games played, which leads it to present the lowest score (68 points in 35 league games in 2020) since 2003, under the tutelage of Rijkaard. A free fall that began to take shape at the beginning of the year and that has concatenated a series of nonsense.
The dismissal of Valverde
The sports management decided to do without Ernesto Valverde in January, a decision that had already been valued after the Rome debacle and, especially after the ridicule against Liverpool. The dressing room chose to defend the coach and take the blame for those painful European eliminations. Bartomeu compromised, who decided to take over after falling in the Spanish Super Cup when the team marched first in the League and had brilliantly qualified as first in the group for the eighth of the Champions League. «The ways have not been the best but a boost was needed, the dynamics were not the best ”, justified the president.
The ridiculous with Xavi in Qatar
Shortly before Valverde’s dismissal, the meeting was leaked, documented with a photograph, of the CEO, Óscar Grau, and the technical secretary, Eric Abidal, in Qatar, where they tried to convince Xavi to take the bench. The Catalan, committed to Víctor Font at that time, gave them pumpkins and uncovered the improvisation in which the club was moving, which had sentenced Valverde and had no relief. Abidal, who denied contacts with Xavi, caused another fire by ensuring that “Many players were not satisfied nor did they work a lot with Valverde”. The reaction of the dressing room, and especially of Messi, did not wait. “I think that when it comes to players we should give names because if we are not getting dirty and feeding things that are said and are not true,” criticized the Rosario.
In the midst of Barcelona’s sporting distress, a new scandal broke out in April that ended up causing the en bloc resignation of six executives, including Emili Rousaud, vice-president and Josep Maria Bartomeu’s dolphin to lead a continuist candidacy. According to information that was uncovered by Ser, Barça had hired a company that was dedicated to discredit, defame and to put in doubt in the social networks to individuals and entities of the Barcelona environment not related to the board of directors and even to players like Leo Messi and Gerad Piqué.
Setién, from cows to 2-8
With a resume with more accolades than titles, Setién landed ready to deploy his manual based on Cruyffismo. Not only did nothing change but was swallowed up by the locker room (“At Barça it wasn’t me, I couldn’t or didn’t know. Messi is difficult to manage but who am I to change him”). Beyond the clashes of his second, Eder Sarabia, prone to lecture from the side, his step will be remembered by the decline of a team that lost the leadership in the League, was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Cup and in August conceded the biggest win in its history in the Champions League, a humiliating 2-8 against Bayern that certified the sporting death and the end of a cycle.
The great culé earthquake arrived that same month of August, shortly before the start of the new preseason. Messi informed the club that he did not want to continue and relied on the drafting of his contract to request the letter of freedom. Bartomeu refused to grant it. The Argentine stayed reluctantly, although before he gave an interview to Goal in which he shot the president, who was hit by the shock wave with the presentation of a motion of no confidence by several partners. «There is no project and there is nothingThey are juggling and covering holes as things go by ”, denounced Messi.
Operation joke exit
Determined to regenerate the team, Bartomeu signed Koeman, but was forced to give to players like Luis Suárez, Vidal, Rakitic or Rafinha to lighten the club’s salary mass.
The pressure on Bartomeu was already unsustainable. The president, who always resisted leaving ended up giving up at the end of October due to the null complicity of the Generalitat when celebrating the motion of censure, in conditions that the president considered a risk to the health of the partners.
The economic ruin
Before his departure, Bartomeu already had to negotiate a deferral of payments of the chips due to the lack of liquidity, which compromised the summer transfer market. Koeman asked for a forward and a center-back (Depay and Éric García) and they did not arrive.
A blank year
In a chaotic year, Barcelona closed the target last season, something that had not happened since the 2007-08 season. And in this they are going the same way in a course that is considered transitional.