After a decade of being at the top of European football, Barcelona find themselves at a cross roads on the hunt for a new manager.
It is a situation the Catalan side has not experienced since Frank Rijkaard departed in 2008. It is crucial that Barcelona ensure their next step is the correct one, as the side faces uncertainty in the years ahead with Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Gerrard Pique all beginning to age.
When Barcelona chose Luis Enrique as their manager, they were out for another Pep Guardiola. Enrique, having previously been in charge of Barca B team and now with another couple of years of experience at Celta Vigo, he was a perfect fit for the position. The choice has proved favorable for them as they have won the Champions League and successive La Liga titles.
As expected, Enrique’s administration was different from that of Guardiola. But the situation is, in appointing Luis Enrique, Barcelona were reluctant to look beyond the Barcelona umbrella.
But as it stands now, the club need some breath of fresh air. While Enrique has proven to be effective, he has lacks knowledge in building the right team
Enrique’s short time at Roma and Celta Vigo did nothing to prepare him for the responsibility a big and financially powerful club like Barcelona would place on his shoulders especially in the transfer market.
The signings of Jeremy Mathieu, Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer and Ivan Rakitic alongside the exit of Dani Alves show how incompetent Enrique is in that department
Barcelona, now needs an all-round competent manager, something that has been lacking since the departure of Louis Van Gaal.
Trying to replicate Guardiola’s effort at Santiago Bernabeu is not an easy task. Guardiola himself is having difficulty achieving the level of success he did at Barcelona having fallen short with Bayern Munich and now struggling at Manchester City.
Barcelona themselves need to accept a season like that is rare. In 2009 Champions League final, their line-up had seven academy graduates, two of which (Xavi and Puyol) were Guardiola’s teammates, while Sergio Busquet had worked with Guardiola in Barcelona B team.
On a different note, the present Barcelona starting XI consists of just four academy product, one of which is Andres Iniesta who is already on a decline, and another is Sergi Roberto, a midfielder deployed to the right-back.
The rapport within the Barcelona side of 2009-2011, not only among the players but also between the heirachy, is a thing that has not been experienced anywhere before. There was a deep understanding among the player and the manager and with the best quality players thrown into the mix (the likes of Lionel Messi), that team was a team like no other.
It was of no issue whether Barcelona had a back-up plan back then, the team was extraordinary both in defense and attack, that there was hardly any team that would face them and go unscathed.
However, these days Barcelona stick to one style of playing and they lack good and quality players in the midfield and defence to make it work. The Barca team are in dire need of freshness and their youngsters from their academy La Masia does not look able to take up the challenge like it happened during Guardiola’s reign.
As a result, Barcelona needs a practical coach, who would prove sensible both on the pitch and in the transfer market to ensure that Barcelona make good choices in the summer.
Juventus humiliated Barcelona 3-0 in April, and they did it playing against a team who were thought to have quality back and front. On that fateful night, Barcelona looked embarrassingly like Arsenal, started out well only to be outmaneuvered at the end.
If Barcelona hopes to face a side like Juventus and emerge in flying colors in the near future, then they need to change their tactical ways and prevent the kind of exposure they experienced at the hand of Juventus.
So the real question now for Barcelona’s president, Mr Bartomeu, make the right decision.