If anyone had predicted that Barcelona wouldn’t win a single trophy at the beginning of the season, many pundits and fans would argue it.
This is base on their pedigree of winning at least a trophy in a season since 2013, having made the domestic trophy – La Liga their own for the past eight seasons before being dethroned by Real Madrid.
This now takes them back to 2013-2014 that they became trophy less as well. But the season that followed, Barcelona started winning trophies again with Champions, League, UEFA Super Cup, World Club trophy being one of those honours.
How the arrival of Neymar changed Barcelona
All this changed in 2014 with some signings, which include Neymar, who joined the squad after the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.
The Brazilian formed a solid partnership with Messi, and they became a thorn in the flesh of La Liga teams. The sign of what to come was seen in their first league match when they hammered Levante 7-0.
The first trophy to land in their cabinet that season was the Super Cup after they had drawn the first leg 1-1 courtesy of Neymar’s 66th-minute strike at the Vicente Calderon against Athletico Madrid.
Although they lost the Championship to Athletico that season, it has never skipped in their hands after then up till Real Madrid got it.
Barcelona eventually went ahead to win the Champions League in 2014-15, followed by eight La Liga trophies, one FIFA World Club Cup, UEFA Super Cup, four Copa Del Rey, and two Spanish Super Cup.
However, the sign of crack begins to show when Neymar eventually left Barca for PSG for a world-record fee.
The Barca struggle
It is to note that Barca has been struggling to get results recently. The sign of what to come this season was not apparent at the beginning of the season when the team was trying to resign Neymar from PSG, without success.
Ousmane Dembele, whom they believed would have replaced Neymar, failed to live up to expectation, and he has been in and out of the team due to injuries.
Phillipe Coutinho, who added to the misery of his parent club on Friday night, also failed to sparkle at Camp Nou.
This could be the reason why Lionel Messi wanted his friend Neymar back in the fold. The failure to secure the transfer reportedly caused some rancour between Messi and the Barca hierarchy.
This was to tell in their season, leading to the sack of Ernesto Valverde despite being on top of the table and still in the Champions League. With the Spanish Super Cup already won by Real Madrid, the only domestic trophy up for grabs was the La Liga.
Barca lost the trophy immediately they were two points behind Madrid after drawing two straight games in June. The Galacticos used the opportunity by winning all their games since the restart.
Although losing the domestic title left Messi reeling and criticizing the team’s performance, especially in their last game against Osasuna, where they recorded their first home loss of the season, all hopes were not lost as Braca has a pedigree in the Champions League.
It was looking rosy for the Catalan after Messi inspired them to a 3-1 win over Napoli and booked a date with Bayern firing from all cylinders. And it ended in a disgrace for the five-time winners of the European competition and all their problems were evident for all to see.
Is there going to be any structural change as suggested by Gerad Pique ahead of the 2021 election or some aging players will be shown the exit door? Time will tell.