FC Barcelona logoFC Barcelona

3 Targets for Barcelona to Hit in 2016

Can Barcelona improve again in 2016?
Can Barcelona improve again in 2016?PAU BARRENA/Getty Images
Jason PettigroveContributor IJanuary 15, 2016

Barcelona had an incredible 2015, winning their second treble, following it up with two more trophies later in the year and setting some incredible new scoring and game-winning records along the way.

For most clubs in the world, you would expect that such a haul and the manner in which it was achieved would be more than acceptable, but the Catalans have never been ones to rest on their laurels.

The bar has been raised and there are other goals to attain in 2016.

A relentless drive to improve is arguably what keeps the Blaugrana at the pinnacle of world football—the desire to always be the best no matter which competition.

Luis Enrique has been tasked with proving that Barca haven't already reached their zenith and that they can indeed deliver again in this calendar year.

Let's take a look at three targets for the club to hit in 2016.

 

First team to retain the Champions League

Can Barcelona become the first team to retain the Champions League in the modern era?
Can Barcelona become the first team to retain the Champions League in the modern era?VI-Images/Getty Images

Not since AC Milan in 1990 have a team retained the cup with the big ears. The Rossoneri did so in the competition's previous guise, the European Cup.

No one has been able to retain the Champions League in the modern format, and aside from Manchester United in 2009, no team has ever really come close to doing so.

AC Milan in 1990 were the last side to retain the European Cup.
AC Milan in 1990 were the last side to retain the European Cup.RUDI BLAHA/Associated Press

Barcelona were the victors in Rome on that occasion, meaning Sir Alex Ferguson and his troops had to be content with a runners-up medal just 12 months after sealing a penalty shootout win against Chelsea in Moscow.

Even at this early stage, there are plenty of people in the game that are suggesting Enrique's side look well set to become the first team to deliver a second successive trophy.

That it should happen, if indeed it does, at the San Sirohome to AC Milanis one of those strange quirks of football fate that happen from time to time.

 

Superior squad depth

Arda Turan is a perfect high-quality replacement for Ivan Rakitic and vice versa.
Arda Turan is a perfect high-quality replacement for Ivan Rakitic and vice versa.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

If there's one area where Barcelona struggle it is in their inability to often bring on like-for-like substitutions when needed.

There isn't a question that Barca are a top team, perhaps the best in the world right now, but there is a real issue with depth in certain areas of the pitch.

If the dream for any manager is to have two rock-solid additions for each position on the pitch, then clearly Enrique has work to do if he wants to reach that particular target and the luxury of a squad with little drop-off in quality.

Adama Traore is one of many players moved on because of little chance of match action.
Adama Traore is one of many players moved on because of little chance of match action.Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

To the manager's credit, much of the deadwood and young players that just weren't going to get the opportunities they need have been moved on.

They now need to be replaced adequately. With players like Celta Vigo's Nolito for example.

Dermot Corrigan of ESPN noted Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez's words from an interview with RAC1, originally printed in Marca, when asked about a January move for the player:

That is a real possibility. We know the situation of the player, but there are many other options. I am not going to speak about Nolito as a player.

He is a good player, in a sweet moment of form and with the national team, which is always something significant.

There are other areas of the squad that need addressing. Can Barca get who they want and at the price they desire?

 

More goals, more wins

In the interests of improvement, Barca have to go one better than before.

Tim Hanlon of Reuters (h/t the Daily Mail) noted Enrique's words in a recent press conference:

It (2015) has been a good year I would give it a nine because we can always improve.

As a player my philosophy was always to give my all and I never had any regrets when the season ended. It is the same as a coach.

There is not a particularly good or bad moment I will try to remember. I am not going to get carried away and 2015 is already part of the past.

It doesn't interest me at all and now I want to do better in 2016 which is the way a professional has to live.

To that end, the Catalans have to somehow top a stunning goals haul of 180 and a win count of 51. Easier said than done, but there's little point aiming any lower.

Barca remain the benchmark at this point, as they were back in 2009. Getting to the top is the easy part. Staying there will be an unbelievable achievement, and oneshould it happenthat will very likely stand the test of time.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices