When things go wrong, and badly wrong at that, it’s hard to find any positives to take from a situation.
In Barcelona’s case, things just went from bad to worse from the beginning of the current season.
The start of the 2019/20 campaign was Barca’s worst in a quarter of a century, and yet, before Ernesto Valverde was sacked, the Catalan club were still sitting pretty at the top of the La Liga table.They hadn’t set the world alight as they’d done in previous seasons, it’s true, but the noise surrounding the club was arguably what set the narrative that Barca were a busted flush under Valverde.
Cue Quique Setien. A manager who had won plaudits whilst in charge of Real Betis, and had become the first in an age to win at the Camp Nou and the Santiago Bernabeu in the same season.
Supporters were clamouring for his signature, but his dream job quickly turned into a nightmare.
In-fighting, assistants having to apologise to players for language used… it was like a never-ending soap opera.
Despite emerging from lockdown still ahead of everyone else including a Real Madrid side that had leapfrogged them with a win in one of the final matches before the lockdown began, Barca snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and allowed Los Blancos to win their first La Liga title in three seasons.
The Champions League is still to come of course but no one expects the Blaugranes to go deep into the competition.
All in all, it’s been a bit of a disaster, and yet there is still something to take from the campaign.
For a start, the emergence of Ansu Fati has been a godsend for the club. At 17, he’s clearly still got much to learn, but his lack of fear and eye for goal mark him out as a real asset for Barca.
Ditto Riqui Puig. The young midfielder has finally been given the minutes that he’s been crying out for all season long, and he’s responded in the best possible way.
If Barca are able to sell the players that they have on the transfer list, then Puig should hopefully see 2020/21 as his true breakout season.
Barca B defender, Ronald Araujo is also coming into his own in the first team, and Lionel Messi, fresh from another record breaking campaign, is showing no signs of letting up.
The green shoots of recovery are very definitely there.