What would constitute a failure for FC Barcelona this season?
It’s certainly a question worth posing. After all, there’ll be plenty of teams that would love to be in their position at this point in the season.
And yet, supporters and those loosely connected with the club still seem to be unhappy.Maybe it has something to do with Ernesto Valverde’s ‘safety first’ approach – it’s not as exciting as the Catalans demand.
Perhaps that’s the real failure in the eyes of many. That even after two incredibly successful seasons, abandoning the Johan Cruyff style can never be forgiven.
The fact that a double was won in 2017/18, Barca are in the cup final again and need just four more wins for a second successive La Liga title… that’s been neatly overlooked.
They’re also one draw or victory away from a Champions League semi-final, and a realistic opportunity of a place in the final.
Add to all of this that Valverde has only lost three league games in the entirety of his tenure, and one begins to clutch at straws.
It would take a wobble of epic proportions from the Blaugrana for them not to win the league from this point, so we can discount the domestic competition from the argument.
Given how long a season is, and how concentrated teams have to be for an entire campaign, winning the league again isn’t something to be sniffed at. It will be Barca’s eighth in the last eleven seasons too. Not bad that.
Clearly, there’s no failings in that regard, unless you really want to get down to the nitty gritty and castigate Valverde for his team selections.
Ditto the Copa del Rey.
In both campaigns that Valverde has been in charge he’s reached the final. It’ll be tough this year against a Valencia side celebrating their centenary, but the Basque should be given appropriate kudos for getting to another showpiece – Barca’s fifth in a row no less.
No Spanish team has ever won the cup for five seasons in succession, so can it really constitute a failure if the Blaugrana are unable to make 2018/19 the season of the ‘double double’?
The Champions League is the prize that the whole club have been after from the first moment of the campaign. Leo Messi even identified the same in a speech to the Camp Nou before the Joan Gamper trophy last August, the traditional curtain raiser to the league season.
With a terrible loss to Roma last season fresh in the mind, nothing less than another European triumph will do.
Even though the Barca squad is not as strong as some left in the competition, nor as strong as their winning squads from 2009, 2011 and 2015, the desperation to become Kings of Europe once more means that if they don’t win it, they have failed, double or otherwise.