In few days, La Liga 2020-2021 kicks off. Beginning the end after turbulent weeks and media frenzy at City of Barcelona during Summer. Finally, the dust is done and dusted; Lionel Messi announced that “he will stay at Barcelona for another season”, despite officially requesting his departure to club officials. To summarize his final decision, he decided to stay to avoid court battle against a club that has nurtured him since his childhood.
Beside the Covid19, Barcelona’s 2019-2020 season was anything but stable. A dismal and global humiliating season by Barcelona last season. The last humiliation being the infamous 8-2 loss at the feet of Bayern Munich at Champions League Semifinal in August. Now, weeks after the end of Covid-battled season, Barcelona ended the season with no trophy in any competition. The first time in many years.
Messi may have stayed, for now, but there are 5 reasons we should be doubtful of his usual great performance for Barcelona in upcoming 2020-2011 season.
- Ronald Koeman’s ability as a Coach:
After Barcelona’s humiliating season, Barcelona board finally replaced the coach with Ronald Koeman. Koeman’s record as a prolific player cant be doubted.But his record as a coach isn’t something to brag about. Specially at Barcelona caliber. His most success came at Netherland National team, which is a different beast than club management.
He had major roles in qualification of his club teams to Europa teams, but also as much taking them to Relegation zone a year after. Its to the point that as soon as Koeman was appointed as Barca manager, Everton fans poured to Twitter with their bashing of their former coach. Comments like “He is expert in destroying players’ motivation. Changes the lineup so often. Sells good players and brings odd and below par players.” Were all common theme among Koeman’s former team’s fans.
- Barcelona without Top goalscorers:
Another major blow to Messi’s season next year is the fact that Luiz Suarez was let go by Barcelona. Another major factor in Messi’s potential poor season. Luiz Suarez is best friend and perfect match of Messi in Barca’s goal machine. Last season alone, Suarez scored 16 goals, and provided 8 Assists.And was 4th best in La Liga’s best players of the season. Considering Griezmann wasn’t effective in scoring last season, Suarez was the ultimate goal feeder to Messi instead. And his void will definitely be felt and impact Messi’s performance as well.
- Consistent Real Madrid:
Defending La Liga Champions, Real Madrid has been a growing force under Zidane in recent seasons. Last season too they managed to win a double: La Liga, and Super Copa trophies. And even though they couldn’t win Champions League trophy this season, they still fared much better than Barca overall this season.
- Real Madrid’s solid Transfer market:
Looking at Real Madrid, the squad has a lot of depth already. With likes of Ramos, Kroos, Modric, Benzema in the squad, they have all fronts covered with full strength. And they are further strengthening their defense, by bringing in additional defender, Fran Garcia.
- Barcelona in transition:
In other side, Barca is actually in transition. Vidal, Suarez, and Pique have left, or are expected to leave. Instead Barca’s transfer market shows the uncertainty in the squad: Koeman is bringing a lot of loanees back, with addition of Academy Players. None of the incoming players standout, and need time to prove themselves.
With all these in mind, Messi would have a hard time scoring as many goals as before. His scoring buddy will no longer be there, and the whole squad is in transition. With Koeman just testing the water and his tactics at Camp Nou, this season, Messi may not be able to carry the whole team by himself. He could even be as unmotivated as it gets, knowing by end of the season, he would leave Barcelona.
Time will tell, but 2020-2021 season could be the hardest year yet, for Lionel Messi.