Barcelona were humiliated by Bayern Munich (2-8) in the Champions League on Friday. This historic battering has kickstarted a tsunami which is shaking the structure of the club at every level – and rightly so, and about time!
Bayern Munich embarrassed Barcelona in every aspect of the game. The German champions demonstrated much more speed, intensity, physicality, composure in front of goal and willingness to press the ball to speed up recovery.
Bayern’s abysmal superiority, when analysed in terms of individuals players and also from a collective perspective, was a slap in the faces of every Barca director, staff member, player and supporter. By extension, it was also an insult to the club’s reputation and legacy.
Listen to The Barcelona Podcast for our passionate, detailed analysis of the current situation. We answered the key questions in everyone’s minds: ‘Why did the 2-8 happen?’, ‘How should we react now?’ and ‘Where do we go from here?’ – Listen now:
In modern football, it has become abundantly clear that every player must run when defending. Unfortunately, Barcelona have too many veteran, self-content players who are way past their best and are no longer able to perform at the highest level, especially when competing against Europe’s best.
Culers must be grateful for what players such as Luis Suarez, Busquets, Alba or Pique have done over the years. At the same time, however, these veterans must be held accountable for what they are currently producing on the pitch – which, unfortunately, it is not enough to justify the incredibly high wages they get paid on a monthly basis.
As I explained in a lot of depth in our latest The Barcelona Podcast, the appointment of Setien was a costly mistake. To say that I am disappointed with his inability to implement the Cruyffist philosophy he promised is an understatement.
Sure, Barcelona have deeper problems that go beyond the control of the coach, and Bayern Munich made that abundantly clear. However, it is unacceptable to see how Setien avoided fixing the mess (which is precisely what he was brought in to do) and instead opted to bow down to the players, become their Mr Yes-Man, and simply try to survive using the old tools in the old way – even though it had been clear for years that this would not work.
Based on what Setien did when managing Barca (his life-long dream, apparently), there is no need to mention the names Cruyff and Setien in the same sentence ever again.
With Setien leaving Barcelona, candidates such as Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman have emerged as potential replacements. To be bluntly honest, however, neither manager will be able to fix the mess that Barcelona is in at the moment.
Clearly, there is only ONE solution to ensure the club’s infrastructural, social and sporting future: The immediate resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Bartomeu trusted Abidal as his Sporting Director and, in turn, the Frenchman has turned Barcelona into the most expensive squad in the world while also somehow managing to increase the average age of his Best XI to 29 years and 329 days – while more than valid, younger alternatives have consistently failed to be given a proper chance.
The impact of supposed difference-makers Coutinho, Griezmann and Dembele has been catastrophical. These (and many other) average players have been signed for superstar transfer fees and the progression of upcoming La Masia talents has been stopped as a result, with many being forced to leave the club to further their careers.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea: Barcelona is a shambolic mess, a team now clearly in the Second Division of European football.
As I have argued in The Barcelona Podcast for many years, the brilliance of Messi has enabled Bartomeu to extend his time in charge of Barcelona. And for far too long. With the Number 10 now less effective than he once was and also being accompanied by an average-at-best surrounding cast, all the cracks generated by years of mismanagement are finally showing.
The only way for Bartomeu is out. Barcelona must rebuild. It will take time, possibly years. For this to happen, the President who took us here must resign immediately to protect the club and allow a new leader to inject much-needed change at every level.
Barcelona are unfortunately facing the end the most successful cycle in history.
It is now time to pick up the pieces and move forward while being lead by those who truly understand The Barca Way and have the know-how, energy and support to do so.
Francesc Tomàs is a Catalan columnist featured in ESPN, The Guardian and many others. Born and raised minutes away from the Camp Nou, Francesc has been sharing his opinionated views with thousands of faithful Culer listeners via The Barcelona Podcast since 2017.