Reasons the Barcelona Era Is over
As every empire must fall, Barcelona has shown signs that they are not the best club in world football anymore.
We are all still a bit shocked that Barcelona lost three out of its last four games. Do we need a moment to sink that in?
(Take a moment. Notice that Barcelona allowed nine goals in their last four matches. Breathe.)
OK, we are cool.
Things aren’t particularly shining in Cataluña. Despite their more-than-comfortable lead in La Liga, Barcelona is on the wrong end of a 2-0 AC Milan lead in the Champions League and were just beaten by their bitter rival–twice.
Barcelona has completely dominated World Football in previous years, culminated by their 2009 and 2011 Champions League wins. They would go on to win both Club World Cup trophies on those respective years, too.
However, as every empire must fall, it seems that the Blaugrana is ready to step down from its “best club in the world” throne.
Here are the reasons World Football is seeing the end of the Barcelona Era.
Decline of Xavi
Raise your hand if you have read an article on Xavi’s brilliance in the last five years. Have you noticed how nobody writes such articles anymore?
Fair enough, he has been out on more than one occasion with a nagging hamstring injury, but Xavi’s decadence showed much prior to that.
The 33-year-old midfielder has held the keys for Barcelona’s dynamic midfield for years, but the pilot may be running out of gas.
It’s easy to blame his low level of play on his age, but the wound hurts deeper. Simply put, Xavi cannot thread the ball around defenses like he used to. We just saw the player enter and leave his prime and there is nothing we can do about it. Just reminisce and cherish the fact that we saw one of the greatest midfielders of all time in action.
When news arrived that Pep Guardiola was to step down from the Barcelona-manager position, it felt like the end of an era. A little more than six months later, that feeling is starting to seem like a more tangible reality.
Pep said he was “drained” from the job and affirmed that “four years [was] enough.” Boy, was he correct.
Tito Vilanova stepped up to the plate and did an all right job, but hasn’t been able to fill Guardiola’s shoes.
The same can be said about Jordi Roura.
Guardiola’s greatest achievement with Barcelona is that he was able to create a very open relationship with all of his players.
That is, players trusted him to always make the right decision, and, most importantly, be extremely open about said decision. There were no secrets between Guardiola, his staff and the Barcelona players.
We are not saying Tito, Jordi and his staff keep secrets from Messi and his teammates. However, it is undeniable they don’t have the same connection the players shared with Guardiola.
Let’s start this out with this great quote from Barcelona’s president, Sandro Rosell:
"It's very difficult to be a Pope in Rome, President of the United States or the goalkeeper at Barça."
For Valdes, the pressure was just too high.
The 31-year-old goalie announced in January he is to leave the club as soon as his contract is over. In the Copa del Rey, he was subbed in for Pinto.
Valdes’ play was (and still is) constantly questioned. And, truth be told, he is a very good goalkeeper, but one cannot rank him as one of the best in the world.
His play hasn’t changed in particular since the January announcement (maybe he just lost his nerves a little bit), but the fact that he is to leave does create a problem for Barcelona. And, mind you, it is a kind of problem they haven’t had in ages. All of a sudden, they do not have a good, quality goalkeeper guaranteed to play for them for the next few years. This is the first time in recent history that Barcelona fails to have a guaranteed quality player at any position.
The times, they are a-changing.
Have you ever been so good at something that you felt you could do that blindfolded? For the longest time, that’s how it seemed that Barcelona played.
Here’s the problem, though: You can’t play soccer blindfolded.
Is it possible that Barcelona is just in way over its own head? Have they convinced themselves they can beat anybody at any time?
This link tells the story perfectly.
Yes, perhaps Barcelona is getting complacent. Relying on Tiki-Taka and Messi a little too much.
Maybe three loses in four games will wake them up. Falling to AC Milan, though, could be fatal to Barcelona’s dynasty.
Here’s the thing: have other teams figured out Barcelona’s Tiki-Taka?
Mourinho and Internazionale proved that the way to beat Barcelona was to park the bus in front of the goal and rely on one or two aggressive scorers to get the job done up top.
Chelsea ran it to perfection with Drogba and Ramires. After, it was Real Madrid’s turn with Ronaldo. Currently, AC Milan is trying to do the same with Boateng and Stephan El Shaarawy.
Barcelona’s style of play revolutionized the world of football and has plenty of followers all across the globe. However, it isn’t particularly new anymore.
Real Madrid Steps Up
Or, rather, world football must have an emperor. World, meet your new emperor, Real Madrid.
Yes, they are miles behind Barcelona in La Liga. And yes, they still have a long way to go if they want to win the Champions League.
In fact, there is no reason Barcelona could not upset AC Milan in the second leg of their Champions League showdown. However, it is foolish to not realize that if Real Madrid keeps improving every single game like they have been, and Barcelona’s play keeps descending like it has been, the world of football might be ready to give the crown to Los Blancos for the first time in years.
Long live king Real Madrid?