This summer’s Telenovela is finally over. Messi is STAYING.
The 6 times Ballon d’Or winner announced it through an interview after weeks of rumors and speculations. Barça’s captain has finally spoken in public after the 8-2 loss against Bayern. Was it to speak about the defeat? Was it to translate the team’s spirit? No, it was not.
He spoke to say he is staying at the club ‘’he loves’’.
Behind the scenes, neither Barça nor La Liga allowed Messi to unilaterally resilate his contract. The league’s position is understandable: they cannot lose one more star right after Neymar and CR7 left. That would make them lose a lot of money.
How about Barça’s? How could a club make a player stay when he clearly is not interested in playing for them anymore? Is he bigger than the club itself?
This adds up to a long list of genius decisions taken by Barça’s board.
Naming the coaches
Of all the coaches that were named by this board, only Luis Enrique has taken Barça to European glory. He spent 3 seasons at the club winning 2 league titles, 3 Copa del Rey, and 1 Champions League.
His departure was the beginning of the downfall at the club. It all started with Ernesto Valverde, who coached the club for 2 and a half seasons. The Basque coach came right after Neymar’s move to PSG (we will get back to it later). To be fair, Valverde did quite a good job: He did win 2 league titles and left as the leader in La Liga but the fans were never satisfied as he did not play ‘’Barça style’’ and it was obvious that his team lacks confidence outside of the Camp Nou, especially during Champions League nights.
The board decided then to name a coach that makes his game all about possession. Is that enough to coach a team like Barça? It is not, especially when you take into consideration that the best team, he has ever coached is Real Betis (with all due respect). You cannot bring a guy like this and ask him to deal with elite level pressure and manage a dressing room that won titles in competitions he has never even participated in. His results were as bad as expected: no title won and a hard 8-2 defeat against FC Bayern.
Koeman, a Barça legend, is their new coach. He does play ‘’Barça style’’ but then again, he has never managed an elite level club and his previous results are not the greatest in football.
There was a time when Barça would sign great players that fit in their policy and project. No matter their price tag, they would always perform. Times have changed and Barça started recruiting names rather than profiles. Of all the players signed since Bartomeu became president, only Lenglet, Umtiti, and (De Jong) have been able to perform and make a name for themselves in the club.
A lot of players that do not have Barça DNA have played for the club. Likes of Paulinho, Vidal, and Boateng would have never stepped foot in the Camp Nou as locals another decent management. Do not get this wrong, they are great players, but they are just not Barça quality.
Barça used to be a gentlemen’s club. It appears they are not anymore. Hijacking Malcom’s move to AS Roma, not informing Atletico about their plans of bringing Griezmann were some very low moves from the board that only proves their lack of competence.
Messi’s latest revelation that there is neither a project nor a projection in the club is a strong statement PR wise for the image of the club.
Messi also revealed that he was lied to by his president. He was told he could leave the club when the season ends while the president’s intention was to keep him or make him cash 700 millions euros in, which is quite impossible. Not the thing you want to hear about your club, right Bartomeu?
This has got to be the greatest stunt pulled off by the board. It appears Barça’s board got in touch with some companies and (secretly) asked them to denigrate the image of some of the club’s rebels. Likes of Messi, Xavi, and Pique have all been subject to hard and sometimes unfair criticism from these companies.
What a way to manage your employees, hats off Bartomeu!
Messi staying will for sure give more time to Bartomeu. He does not have to be afraid anymore of being labeled as “The President that sold Messi”. However, it will be hard for him to save the club before a new president comes.