Barcelona continue to be on a run without silverware, whose gradual extension pay persuade Lionel Messi into departing this summer.
Barcelona were unable to clinch a first trophy in one and a half year as Athletic Bilbao got a 3-2 win over them in the Spanish Super Cup Final. The Blaugrana threw away a 2-1 towards the end of the game as the Basque side emerged victorious following extra time. Lionel Messi also saw his first red card for the Catalans and risks being banned for four to 12 games.
Another failure, this time on the domestic front, justified how much Barcelona are lacking right now. The defence was a total catastrophe with Clement Lenglet having a game to forget, whereas the frontline once again needing individual inspiration as Antoine Griezmann scored a double to help his side to a lead twice.
Unfortunately, such performances are pushing Lionel Messi further and further away from the club as his contract comes to an end. The Argentine has already been tipped to leave the club this summer as the current squad remains uncompetitive to challenge for silverware. In spite of public attempts from the Barca to convince him to stay, he may have reached boiling point.
Lionel Messi was within touching distance of an exit last summer after submitting a transfer request. However, after Josep Maria Bartomeu’s reluctance, his option remained legal action against the club. The 33-year-old did not want to take the lawful way out against the club and thus, ended up staying on before revealing his happiness at the Camp Nou.
Messi also stated that he had no clarity as to whether he would stay at Barcelona or move elsewhere. The only condition on which he will stay at the club is if they have a coherent winning project. Joan Laporta has already got ambitious plans for the club, but the delay in presidential elections coupled with another setback may be enough to push Messi into wanting to pursue a different challenge.
There seem to be gaping holes in every part of the squad which have not been filled. The defence lacks fullbacks with a defensive mindset, whereas central defenders are lacking in quality or experience. With Gerard Pique injured, Barca’s defence looks as subpar as it has in the last decade or so.
Needless to say, midfielders like Sergio Busquets are past their best but continue being indispensable part of the squad. The attacking third has been lacking a goal-scorer. Antoine Griezmann has stepped up in recent matches, but his form is bound to drop due to being played in a wrong role. Messi will once again have to bail the club out and he certainly must not do the dirty work at 33.
Ronald Koeman is also doing no good to help the club recover from last season’s tumultuous situation. The Dutchman has been tactically frail and ostracized youngsters like Riqui Puig who could be the answer to Barca’s issues. In short, Barcelona require a major overhaul and that is not going to be completed in the blink of an eye because of a financial crisis as well.
While one could play the blame game against Bartomeu, it must be said that there is little that is being done to impress Messi into extending his stay. Even after the former president’s resignation, Barca seem to be in the same state as before. Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain look more attractive destinations for Messi and there’s not a single good reason why he would want to continue his career in a downtrodden side.