What’s wrong with FC Barcelona?
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What’s wrong with FC Barcelona?

That was a time when they won almost everything under the captaincy of Xavi Hernandes.

What’s wrong with FC Barcelona?

Barcelona lost their weekend match against Real Betis. The scoreline was FC Barcelona 0 - 1 Real Betis.  Once touted as the best team ever made, Barcelona is probably at its lowest in the 122 years of its history. What is happening to the team which was considered invincible in the whole of Europe just within a span of six years? Why are they losing against the comparatively weaker teams of their own league?

FC Barcelona from 2008 to 2015 was one of the most talismanic teams of all time. That was a time when they won almost everything under the captaincy of Xavi Hernandes. But then post 2014 the newly elected president Joseph Maria Bortmaeu started making changes. Most of the changes made by him turned into a blunder.

The first change was bringing Valverde as the manager of the first team in place of  Luis Enrique. Luis was someone filled with energy all the time. He always stands at the line of the dug-out guiding his players. On the contrary, Valverde was a calm coach. He always sits inside and lets the players play their game. This sudden change in the attitude of management has affected the mindset of players too. Soon the team also lost their experienced captain, as Xavi hung his boots at the Camp Nou at the end of the 2015 season. It was then that the whole team started looking at Messi during the games for the lead. The team ultimately became Messi Centric. The over-dependency of the team over Messi caused the most pain to the team in recent times.

Also read | Real Madrid vs Athletic Club: Post Match Analysis

The departure of Neymar at the end of that season was also a major setback for the team. The versatility that Neymar provides to the left wing was unreplaceable. Bortmaeu and Valverde bought Ousman Dembele as the replacement for Neymar. Dembele was bought for 145 million from Dortmund. He was never worth that amount. At most he deserves half of this amount. The cherry on the top of this blunder was he spent most of his first three seasons being injured. This huge investment bought nothing in return for the club rather than a burden of huge wages. Dembele came to Camp Nou when he was 19, now he is 24. He is unable to provide a single game-winning performance for the club till now in his five years.

The next big transfer for the club was bringing Philip Coutinho as the replacement of Andres Iniesta. The club spent 150 million on Coutinho to bring him from the Premier League giant Liverpool. Coutinho was unable to perform in the club too. The over dominance of Messi in the game was one of the reasons for the degradation in the performance of Coutinho. Valverde always planned the game around Messi, Coutinho was unable to adapt in this situation. The Brazilian was playing as the attacking midfielder, he was getting spaces to take shots from the near boxes in Liverpool. But here in Barcelona, he lost that freedom as Suarez and Messi like to take the ball deep in the box. It was a bad decision of management which cost both the club and Coutinho. He never replaced Iniesta on the contrary he was unable to bring his own ability on the ground too.

Bringing Antione Griezmann, the world cup winner to the club which costs 140 million was also turned into a blunder. The Frenchman was unable to perform according to his potential too. Though he gave a few game-winning performances, his overall performance was still disappointing.

The biggest loss for the club in these six years was losing Lionel Messi. Messi single-handedly took Barcelona to the finals of two Copa Del Rey and managed to win one. Whole Barcelona went on a protest against Bortmaeu when the Argentine demanded to release him from the club agreement. Bortmeau was forced to step down from the President’s post of the club.

At FC Barcelona all transfer decisions have turned into blunders in recent times. They were unable to find a place in the club for Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitik, Arturo Vidal, Antoine Griezman and sold them to other clubs. Now all of them are performing brilliantly in those clubs. They kept Samuel Umtiti, Ousman Dembele, and Carlos Braithwait in the club who are unable to give a single match-winning performance for the club in a  long time.

Being at number seven in the league table should not be a surprise after making such blunders. The club needs to rebuild it, in almost all positions. The average age of the players is also very high. Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquet, Sergio Roberto, Jordi Alba all are above 30. The club needs some new energetic players, who can bring the spark. Players from La Masia (Youth Academy of Fc Barcelona)  like Anshu Fati and Riqui Puig should get more time in the game. Xavi is brought back to the Club in a new role. FC Barcelona fans are hoping that the return of their captain of the 2015 team will bring back those game-winning days again.