La Liga 2016/17: 5 reasons why Barcelona ceded the trophy to Real Madrid
While thousands of Madridistas will be celebrating the capture of Real Madrid’s 33rd league title at Cibeles, thousands of Barcelona supporters will be wondering where it all went wrong in a campaign that they only lost by three points but were, in truth, a million miles away from winning themselves.
Winning the league is always considered the benchmark, given that the season is often a long and arduous one. The 2016/17 La Liga was no different but perhaps the signs were already there before the campaign even began.
The Catalans were resting on their laurels whilst Zinedine Zidane made it a stated aim for Los Blancos to bring back the trophy they hadn’t won for five years.
Let’s take a look at five reasons why Barcelona ceded the league title to their bitterest rivals...
#1 Defensive frailties
Ever since Carles Puyol hung up his boots, Barcelona have had issues with their back line. Whether it was aerially or full-backs pushing too far forward, there was always a hole that needed plugging.
The most obvious problem for them in 2016/17 has been the lack of a top-class right-back. For all of his willingness and industry, Sergi Roberto is not the answer.
Samuel Umtiti has largely sorted out the problem of the team not being able to deal with high balls, along with Gerard Pique, but Javier Mascherano has looked off-colour, Jordi Alba has been non-existent at times and their back-ups have been poor.
Dani Carvajal and Marcelo are probably the two best wing-backs in world football at the moment because, although they bomb forward and have assist stats to die for, their primary role remains defending, at which they are exemplary.
Sergio Ramos has reigned supreme as captain and though he’s had a number of partners, Varane, Nacho and Pepe have all been excellent when required.