Massive changes in store for Barcelona following embarrassing defeat.
When the referee blew the whistle at the end of the match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich, it did more than bring an end to a game that seemed like a training session for the German side.
It brought down the curtain and closed the chapter on Barcelona’s golden era. A finality that even some of the Catalan players seemed to accept.
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President Josep Maria Bartomeu echoed similar statements in his interview all but confirming that changes indeed will be made. That, in fact, they had already decided on some changes even before the match. Though he did not disclose what they would be.
A change in manager is the most obvious with Mauricio Pochettino the leading candidate to take over. But it will take more than that.
Pique stated that if players like himself and other heavyweights needed to step aside, that he would be among the first to take that step for the good of the club.
If a true revolution is set to take place then Barcelona will need to move on from players that marked the most successful time in their history. It won’t just be Pique. It will also have to be the likes of Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Luis Suarez and even Lionel Messi.
The utter destruction at the hands of Bayern Munich was a culmination of the poor planning by the current board. An incompetence only bailed out Messi and the results on the pitch. No longer being bailed out by that, their backs are now up against the wall.
The “end of an era” talk with regards to Barcelona have been banded about ever since Pep Guardiola left. Coincidentally, they were at their strongest the season following his departure when the club lost 7-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich.
Two seasons after, they hired Luis Enrique to take over and they won a treble. However, this time, it’s different.
Their latest humiliation was the third consecutive time in the Champions League. Poor investment and an aging squad makes it almost impossible for history to repeat itself.
As Pique said, the club have hit rock bottom. Digging themselves out of it is going to be a difficult task.
The first step should be in holding presidential elections and letting new leadership take over. Only then can they take decisions on who the manager is and which players will need to be moved on.
The last time Barcelona went without a trophy was in 2007/08 under Frank Rijkaard. Pep took over and the rest was history. This time around, however, it won’t be as simple as that.
The club is a dysfunctional mess and it is going to take more than one season to right the ship. A lot of difficult decisions will need to be made in the meantime and they can ill-afford to get any more of them wrong.