Spain entered the 2014 World Cup looking to defend their title, but things could not have turned out more odd. La Roja were trounced in their opening match against the Netherlands, before losing to Chile and not even making it out of the group.
As has been the case for a while now, a large fraction of Spain's World Cup squad was made up by Barcelona players—Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Pedro—who were all counted on to play major roles in Brazil.
After such a dismal showing, Spain has a lot of questions that need to be answered. But Blaugrana fans may be wondering something else as well—will La Roja's poor form affect Barcelona at the club level?
Club and international competitions often go hand-in-hand with player form carrying over quite a bit between the two. With six Barcelona players having been gutted in Brazil, there is potential for it to carry over to the Camp Nou.
However, before we can discuss the Barcelona players' form for La Roja, we must first look at how things were before the World Cup kicked off.
Going into the World Cup, Barcelona players were not at their best. The likes of Gerard Pique and Pedro were struggling for form, while Jordi Alba was in and out of the lineup due to injury.
Truthfully, only Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets were enjoying good form going into the World Cup. Xavi may have been looking decent as well, but it is important to note that the 34-year-old desperately needed a break.
Six players may not seem like a lot, but assuming that at least four of those will be regular starters for Barcelona, the cause for concern is understandable.
Fans are surely worried about how Pique and Alba will fare this season, and rightfully so. However, there is much to suggest that Spain's downfall will not affect Barcelona enough to lose sleep over.
To begin with, the World Cup came at a bad time for the Barcelona players, as well as many other Spaniards. After such a long and grueling season, many players were struggling with injuries and needed a rest badly.
That in itself had much to do with how Spain performed at the World Cup.
Additionally, it may have been a good thing for Barcelona that Spain was eliminated so early. Key players likes Busquets and Iniesta were able to enjoy a long summer break and will likely enter the new season refreshed and ready for a tough campaign.
These stars have been going non-stop for a few years now, and a long summer may be just the thing to rejuvenate their energy and focus.
That being said, the real key to Barcelona this year is that the club has worked hard to recruit outside talent, which should help drive unique focus and bring new hunger. Whether or not you like seeing the club bring in outside talent, it will bring needed freshness to the squad.
In the past, Barcelona's core group of players were La Roja's stars as well—minus Lionel Messi, of course. This summer only six Blaugrana players were a part of the World Cup squad, meaning the club has diversified a bit over the last few years.
When the new season kicks off, Barcelona will be relying on much more than just Spanish stars and Messi.
The arrivals of Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Luis Suarez and Claudio Bravo bring strong diversity and leadership that will help the team transition well under Luis Enrique. Not to mention, these new players can't wait to make their mark at the Catalan club.
Add in other foreign players like Neymar and Javier Mascherano, as well as hungry youth like Marc Bartra and Martin Montoya, and the Catalan giants have a really healthy balance to the squad.
To put it simply, Barcelona fans do not have to worry about Spain's poor form affecting the club this season. Though several Blaugrana players did collapse in Brazil, they have had time to rest and will be joining new teammates at the Camp Nou who will be looking to fight for a starting role.
Enrique will be implementing a new system and energy in a group of players that have lacked motivation, and now is the time for Barcelona to prove that they can overcome rather than falter like Spain did in Brazil.
Will Spain's poor form affect Barcelona? How will Barcelona's season play out? Leave your thoughts and comments below!