An optimist might think that there aren’t too many problems at Barcelona.
They’re top of La Liga, possibly on their way to their fifth title in the last six seasons, they have Leo Messi back fit and firing, and in Ansu Fati have one of Europe’s most exciting talents in their ranks.
But it doesn’t take much scratching beneath the surface to find the issues.
This is a team with an ageing core – Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez, even Messi isn’t getting any younger – but a group that are so powerful it’s tricky to shift them.
This is a team that is on the brink of requiring some major decisions to be made about its path forwards, and maybe it has already reached that point.
“They have so many problems on their plate, it’s very difficult to diagnose what’s happening,” said Alvaro Romeo on this week’s edition of the Totally Football Show.
“Barcelona have a manager who doesn’t seem to believe in the new players – he’s still picking players who are clearly not performing, for example Gerard Pique who is not playing well this season. He’s already got six or seven yellows.”
The problem is that Ernesto Valverde also doesn’t seem to quite have the respect of his squad, making his position weak.
“Andre Ter Stegen said recently that some changes and improvements needed to be made, but who’s going to trigger this? A manager who doesn’t seem to have the authority to do it? A sporting director who we don’t know if he’s good or not because we don’t know who he is?
“Or a team that is divided between the players who have won everything – Messi, Pique, Suarez – and the new players, eager to do a good job but they don’t know how?
The next year or so could turn out to be pivotal for the future of Barcelona – we don’t know what direction they will be heading in, but more importantly, neither do they.
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