3 steps that FC Barcelona must take to compete with the best this decade
FC Barcelona may have had an extremely successful period from 2010 to 2020. They dominated the La Liga, winning the league seven times as well as winning the Champions League twice. However, the upcoming decade could prove to be tumultuous for the Catalan side. Lionel Messi's inevitable retirement, an aging squad and boardroom issues could affect Barcelona in the near future. Here are three steps the Blaugrana should take to ensure that they can compete with the best sides in Europe in the current decade.
#1 Plan for the future
Barcelona's boardroom issues have had a direct impact on the club's football. A presidential power struggle, poor communication and lack of clarity among the board members mean that Barcelona are not planning for the future. On the other hand, Real Madrid, under Florentino Perez have moved early and quickly in revamping the squad and purchasing the best talent from across the world. The appointments made by Barcelona at the board level are not particularly reassuring either with doubts remaining over the likes of current President - Josep Maria Bartomeu and Director of Football - Eric Abidal.
Barcelona have an aging squad. Lynchpins like Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, and Luis Suárez are all into their thirties and could very likely see just a few more seasons at the top level. More worrying is Messi's situation. At the moment, Barcelona are heavily reliant on their captain to produce goals and win games. The Argentine continues to do so but how long can he sustain such a level of performance is the question.
Nothing at Barcelona suggests that they will recover from Messi's departure. Therefore, Barcelona need to invest heavily in signing the next generation of superstars in the same way Real Madrid have. They should also show more faith in La Masia, which has produced so many world class players over the years. The club needs a long term vision.
#2 Return to the club values
Barcelona's motto is Mes ques un club meaning 'more than just a club.' This is a reference to Barcelona's rich history, culture of beautiful football, commitment to developing youth and in modern times, following Cruyff's principles. With the increase in the wealth of the club, Barça have strayed from these principles in recent years.
Fewer La Masia graduates are coming through to the first team, poor investments have been made and managerial appointments lack direction as well. Barcelona need to go back to their roots and appreciate what made them a monumental club in the first place.
#3 Streamline operations
FC Barcelona need to revamp their operations from top to bottom in what is a testing time for the club. Heavy spending on renovating the Camp Nou and recent transfers mean that the club must also tread carefully when it comes to their financial situation. To ensure stability, operations must be streamlined from top to bottom.
There are currently too many differences of opinion as seen in Abidal's recent argument with Messi. The election of the President is also allegedly not transparent and reports have emerged that Messi is threatening to leave if Bartomeu does not step down. These are the results of years of mismanagement and corruption.
Barcelona would do well to adopt the Ajax model and employ only individuals who are in line with the club's values. Such a revamp must start with the academy where the coaches must take pride in their work and instill Barcelona's vision of football into the next generation. When it comes to the first team, managerial appointments must be heavily scrutinised by important shareholders before they are made. The same can be said of transfers and Barcelona must stop spending on players who they don't need or are not good enough. More transparency is a must from the board and the President must be made more accountable for his actions.
At the moment, FC Barcelona are behind their domestic and continental rivals when it comes to planning for the future. However, if they act quickly, they can set themselves on the right path once again.
Also read | All is not well: Messi-Abidal media war a smokescreen for deeper problems at FC Barcelona
Published 09 Feb 2020, 19:37 IST