Barcelona won La Liga for the first time in four years. However, many problems revealed in both the professional and financial aspects of the Camp Nou team.
In the early morning of May 15 (Hanoi time), Barca was crowned La Liga after a 4-2 victory over Espanyol in round 34. After the 2021/22 season empty-handed, the Catalan club returned impressively in the domestic league when it came up. 4 rounds early. Barca is currently 14 points ahead of rival Real Madrid in the rankings.
The La Liga championship is Barca’s bright spot after a tumultuous summer. However, whether the club maintains success in the domestic league in the future is still a big question mark.
Two sides of Barca
It is easy to point out that the highlight that helped Barca to the throne in La Liga came from the excellent performance in the defense. The Catalan club only conceded 13 goals after 34 rounds, averaging 0.38 goals conceded per game. This number is much better than Real (32 goals conceded). The clean sheet rate of the Camp Nou team is also up to 74%. These are the best stats in La Liga.
In addition, the championship of Barca also came from the significant decline of Real. “Los Blancos” lost 7 matches in La Liga this season compared to only 4 matches in the 2021/22 season. Real was also unlucky to lose their main striker Karim Benzema in about 14 matches because of injury.
Real maintains a chase with Barca thanks to a pre-configured system and experienced veterans. However, stability in the domestic league is a luxury for “Los Blancos” in the current season. In this respect, Barca do better than Real.
However, in cup competitions, Barca exposed weaknesses. In the Champions League, Barca was eliminated in the group stage, including 3 defeats against Bayern Munich (2 matches) and Inter Milan. Coach Xavi complained that the perpetrators made too many mistakes and showed the opposite face in the domestic league.
In other arenas, Barca also caused great disappointment. The team lost 0-4 to Real in the semi-final second leg of the King’s Cup on April 6. In addition, Barca was also eliminated from the Europa League when losing to MU in the play-off round with a total score of 3-4. Barca continues to reveal weaknesses in the defense when meeting teams that are good at counter-attacking like the “Red Devils”.
The performance of the main striker Robert Lewandowski was also controversial. The Polish star is the team’s main striker this season with 21 goals in the domestic league. But he didn’t make enough influence in big battles.
Lewandowski’s body gradually aged. At one point, he only scored 2 goals in 8 consecutive matches for club and country. This is a rare thing when the 34-year-old striker is still playing for Bayern or Dortmund.
In addition to the unconvincing play, Barca also had serious financial problems. “Sell the future, buy the present” is the opinion used to describe Barca. The Catalan club accepts to sell the team’s assets in the summer of 2022 to recruit recruits, pay player salaries and have more operating budget.
This move increases the pressure of Barca’s success. President Joan Laporta wants to see resounding success on the pitch right away. Two La Liga titles and the Spanish Super Cup are clearly not enough to satisfy the leadership’s expectations after heavy investments in the club. What Barca is aiming for is the Champions League or Super League, tournaments that generate huge profits.
Just before the 2022/23 season ended, Barca announced the farewell of Sergio Busquets, who had 18 years with the team. The problem of replacing Busquets will be Xavi’s pain in this summer transfer window. The current Barca team has not been able to replace this 34-year-old player.
The same is the case with Lionel Messi. President Laporta and his associates always confirm that they want to recruit M10 this summer. However, it should be remembered that Barca still has a debt of 1.35 billion euros. In the case of wanting to welcome Messi back, Barca must compromise the significant salary reduction of the Argentine superstar.
The warnings of President Javier Tebas of La Liga also show that Barca is about to undergo a mass liquidation of players. Barca’s salary fund is exceeding the allowable limit of about 200 million euros in the 2023/24 season. Spanish media revealed that if they want to sign a contract or recruit new players in the near future, they must reduce their salary by about 150-200 million per year. This is the number set by the La Liga organizers.
Mundo Deportivo said that the tournament organizers want the Catalan club to consider increasing income by selling players, reducing wages and attracting more sponsorship contracts. Recruiting players on a free form could be Barca’s destination. But in the opposite direction, no one can guarantee that the Catalan club will maintain an impressive performance in the domestic league in the context of many players having to leave.