What a season it’s been for FC Barcelona!
At the beginning of the campaign, during the curtain raiser to each season, the Joan Gamper Trophy, Lionel Messi apologised for the collapse against Liverpool.
He also noted that the Catalans would be challenging again for the Champions League and the other top prizes on offer.
But it’s safe to say that things haven’t quite gone according to plan.The signing of Antoine Griezmann was expected to work much better than the acquisition of Philippe Coutinho did, and although the Frenchman has scored goals he’s looked lost in a number of games to date.
At the beginning of the season, Barcelona were so poor that Ernesto Valverde had the dubious honour of overseeing their worst start in 25 years. And things haven’t really got much better.
Ousmane Dembele’s injury-prone time at the Camp Nou has continued, and Luis Suarez’s long-term injury finally got the better of him.
Highly-rated La Masia stars such as Carles Alena, Carles Perez and Jean-Clair Todibo were either sold or loaned, leaving the squad light in certain areas.
Dumped out of the Copa del Rey and plodding through LaLiga… could it get any worse?! Well, yes it could actually.
With no money to spend, the club had to be content with signing Martin Braithwaite as an emergency striker signing, a player who, realistically and with respect, isn’t Barcelona quality.
Not only that, there has been a social media storm which has suggested that club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, had paid a company to put out derogatory messages about players and companies that weren’t aligning with his board’s ideals.
Bartomeu has consistently issued furious denials but that situation left a very bad taste in the mouth.
Not to mention the fall out between Lionel Messi and technical director, Eric Abidal. The Frenchman, a former team-mate of the No.10, had dared to suggest that certain players weren’t trying hard enough under Valverde.
That led to a furious response from the Argentinian, and most of the Barcelona fan base siding with the captain and rounding on the board.
By some distance, it’s been the worst season under Bartomeu’s stewardship, and there’s every chance it will still get worse if Barca are unable to secure at least one piece of silverware this season.
Club elections for a new president weren’t due until the summer of 2021, but with the pressure building on an almost daily basis before the Coronavirus situation, it remains to be seen if Bartomeu can see out the current crisis or whether he will be left with no choice but to call early elections.