“Croatia came to this World Cup with only two natural…
That Barcelona FC of Spain has been experiencing poor performance in recent times is no news. I have followed Barcelona since 2000 and they are my second team after Arsenal. Here, I do an analysis of what their problem (and non-problem) is.
It is just a cycle. Every top club experiences it. Madrid was at its low between 2003 and 2012. It gradually recovered. Now, it is in its peak. Barca was at its peak between 2006 and 2012, now experiencing trough. Manchester United has been experiencing its trough since Sir Alex left, now on gradual recovery. AC Milan has been on its own low for about 6 years now. It is a cycle. It happens to every club.
Barca enjoyed its peak so well that if forgot to plan. Barca is traditionally a team that has its biggest strength in the central midfield (unlike Madrid and Man U that are traditionally wing team). Xavi and Iniesta were the engine room of Barca’s glorious years of 2006 - 2012.
It became so comfortable that it never thought of succession planning for them. Rather than groom Thiago and Fabregas as their successor, it treated them badly by not giving them good playing time. Yaya Toure that was arguably better than Busquet was treated badly.
Alves, same way.
It sold its La Masia upcoming talents. Who needs them when Xavi and Iniesta were delivering? So it thought.
Xavi and Iniesta became weak, the former left. Then the problem started.
No successor. Only Messi tried to carry on. It got Neymar who was also trying but it let it slip again.
Anyhow, it would still have slid into “recession” in the performance cycle, but it doesn’t look things will be better anytime soon. Now running helter-skelter to get Coutinho, Dembele etc. Too little too late.
Jarus is the CEO of JarusHub and Editor-in-Chief of Opinions.Ng