Womenforfootball.com- Recent shocking elimination at Champions League and more recently at Copa del Rey Final were hard pill to swallow for Barcelona fans. Catalonians were understandably used to back to back trebles and record breaking season under Pep Guardiola. However upon his departure on high note, in part due to hidden differences with club’s director, Sandro Rosell, Barcelona’s talented squad were far from spectacular anymore. In the following season, despite battling with cancer, the team manager, Tito Vilanova managed to win La Liga domestic trophy for Barcelona. Albeit, the team’s defensive flaws were evident and one trophy throughout the 2012-2013 season was drastically lower than Guardiola’s four trophies a year earlier.
Yet problems were not fixed, and when Vilanova had to step down due to health reasons, the club director focused on celebrity-style signings including the signing of 21 years old Neymar, as the most expensive deal to date; A fact that surely did not sit well with existing top scorer, Lionel Messi.
One year later, and Rosell, the club director, were publicly shamed of transfer fraud in the case of Neymar and resigned, the club faced a hefty fine, and the record signing of the club has only managed to score nine goals in 25 appearances-very much shy of Messi’s, Pedro’s and Sanchez’s, and the team have been knocked out of all competitions.
If Barcelona club era be divided into pre-Rijkaard’s crisis era, Rijkaard’s consistent era, Guardiola’s fantastic era, Vilanova’s era and Martino’s era, this season marked a disastrous season for Barcelona similar to Radomir Antic and Loius van Gaal era back in 2002-2003.
Here is the chart that shows the total number of trophies won by the club each season in the past five seasons:
As evident in the chart, this season along with last season, was the worst season of the club in the past five seasons. Although both Martino and Vilanova have similar record in terms of winning one trophy with Barcelona, but Vilanova’s achievement in winning La Liga title is more reputable than Martino’s Spanish Super Cup trophy, since it was Vilanova’s team that made it to Super Cup Final.
Clearly, Barcelona is nearing the crisis era they experienced back in 2003, and if the club directors do not make bold moves to fundamentally improve the team, it could be the end of an era for Barcelona and a new beginning for their nearest rival, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.