At the start of the current campaign, just as he had a year previously, Lionel Messi addressed the Camp Nou.
The message was much the same. The team were disappointed by their Champions League exit, and subsequent Copa del Rey final defeat, but a new season represented new opportunities.
The first team would do everything they could to bring home some silverware, preferably of the European variety.Fast forward six months, and the Catalans are just about still on the coat tails of a poor Real Madrid side, but one who find themselves at the top of the La Liga table.
Out of the Copa del Rey after a last minute winner from Athletic Club’s Inaki Williams and with a new coach in Quique Setien trying to implement new methods at the most critical point of the season, the Champions League fixture against Napoli looms largest.
There is still plenty of desire to win that tournament, and all the while they’re in touch with Los Blancos, the league remains a stated aim too.
But if the blaugranes won neither, would it be a bad thing?
After all, at this point no one is expecting Barca to do well in either competition. Four defeats already in La Liga, compared to Real Madrid’s one attest to that.
Zinedine Zidane’s side could, theoretically, afford to lose at least a couple more games and still hang on to the favourites tag. Barca can ill afford another defeat because most league champions don’t lose five games in a season.
They also run the risk of being caught by the chasing pack if they were to be on the receiving end again between now and the end of the season, which statistically is entirely possible.
After the haphazard way in which Ernesto Valverde was dismissed, the poor signing strategy in the summer and January transfer windows and the row between Lionel Messi and Eric Abidal, the general consensus has been that this season has been a write off already for the Catalans.
Although professional players have their pride and competitive edge to think of, when the team of the calibre of Barcelona doesn’t win anything at all, it enforces change.
The club have needed that change for some while now, so with Messi coming to the end of his career, surely the notion of everything being on a much more satisfactory keel as he sees out his last days is preferable?
Or is more of the same still acceptable?