FC Barcelona has experienced a significant struggle without Lionel Messi for two seasons for several reasons.
FC Barcelona’s two seasons without Messi
Firstly, Lionel Messi was an integral part of the team for over a decade. He was the team’s top scorer, and his skills on the pitch were unmatched. Messi’s departure left a significant void in the team’s attacking options, and the team has struggled to replace him adequately. Barcelona’s other forwards have not been able to step up and fill Messi’s shoes, which has led to a lack of creativity and a drop in the team’s overall attacking efficiency.
Secondly, Barcelona’s financial struggles have impacted the team’s ability to sign top-class players. With Messi’s departure, the team lost its biggest asset, and their financial situation did not allow them to bring in a suitable replacement. As a result, the team has had to rely on younger, less experienced players, which has impacted their overall performance.
FC Barcelona’s European Struggle & Development Phase
At the time when Messi left Barcelona, the head coach of the team was former FC Barcelona’s Dutch legend Ronald Koeman who helped Barca to their first-ever champions league during his time as a player. He was appointed as a coach of Barca after the sacking of Ernesto Valverde who was dismissed by the club because he was unable to win a champions league with Barca which was FC Barcelona’s foremost priority.
So Ronald Koeman was appointed with a mission to make the Catalan side strong enough to be worthy of a European title. But even with the presence of Messi in his first season as a coach, he was unable to even win the Spanish league La Liga & was knocked out by the French side Paris Saint-Germain in the Pre-Quarters of the Champions League. Somehow Messi’s quality performances and pure magic helped him and Barca win the Spanish Cup competition, Copa del Rey. So at least he won a trophy with the team after all. So Barca board kept him as a coach of the team with the same ambitions as that of the last 2020 season. At the start of the 2021 season, the team struggled a bit but after Messi left the club, it made Barca’s performance even worse. FC Barcelona almost went 10 games without winning in La Liga which forced the club’s board to make the decision of sacking the Dutch coach.
Now many names were on the paper for a new coach including former Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez who retired from the club as a player in 2015 after leading the Catalan side to a significant 4 Champions League and two Trebles under the coaching of Pep Guardiola, a coach who changed FC Barcelona’s history forever with the golden years of success and the most attractive style of gameplay ‘Tiki Taka’.
Xavi who left the club 6 years before was at the moment the coach of the Saudi club Al Saad. And was considered a student of Pep Guardiola and former Barca legend Johan Cruyff. The Saudi side Al Saad made very prominent progress under the coaching of Xavi and he was considered the best option for a new coach of FC Barcelona by most of the Barca board and the fans because he was one of the Spanish and Catalan players who was loved the most by the Spanish and Barca fans because of his ability and philosophy of play as a player as well as a coach. So finally the decision was made.
The appointment of Xavi Hernandez as head coach of the club’s first team took place in January 2022.
Xavi is a former FC Barcelona player who won numerous titles with the club as a midfielder and is considered one of the best players in the history of the sport. His appointment as head coach was seen as a significant step in the club’s efforts to rebuild its football program after a period of decline and disappointment in recent years.
Under Xavi’s leadership, FC Barcelona has undergone a significant transformation in its playing style and tactics, shifting towards a possession-based, attacking approach that emphasizes quick passing and movement off the ball. The team has also focused on developing young talent from its academy and integrating them into the first team, a core principle of the club’s philosophy known as “La Masia.”
While the initial results of Xavi’s tenure were mixed, with some inconsistent performances and a lack of trophies, the team has shown steady improvement over time. The club’s president, Joan Laporta, has expressed confidence in Xavi’s leadership and vision for the team and has backed him with significant investments in player recruitment and facility upgrades.
Overall, the development phase that FC Barcelona has gone through under Xavi’s leadership has been characterized by a commitment to the club’s core principles and values, a focus on developing young talent, and a determination to return to the top of European football. While the journey has not been without its challenges, the team and its fans remain optimistic about the future under Xavi’s guidance.
In the first season under the coaching of Xavi, FC Barcelona faced a lot of difficulties including the relegation of Barca from the Champions League to the Europa League for the first time since 2004. Barca went trophyless in the season when Messi left the club and Xavi was appointed as the first team coach. Now moving on to the 2nd and the ongoing season under Xavi FC Barcelona has made significant progress. Despite another relegation of the Catalan side from the Champions League to the Europa League in two seasons in a row, Barca has shown that the team is a lot together and stronger than in the previous tragic seasons.
After the addition of some new players including former Bayren Munchen’s world-class striker, Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen, Jules Kounde and Franck Kessie along with the likes of highly talented young La Masia products Pedri, Gavi, Ronald Araujo and Aljendaro Balde, Xavi’s side is performing very well with consistency and the proof of this is their excellent performance in La Liga and the number 1 spot in the league leaving their arch rival, Real Madrid behind to the 2nd place with a significant point difference of 15. FC Barcelona is just 1 win away from becoming the La Liga Champions once again after 4 years.
Last time they won La Liga under the captaincy of Leo Messi in 2019. One of Barca’s main problems in the previous years was their defense who conceded a lot of goals causing the results of most of the matches to change quite badly. And this problem also seemed to be solved as Barca has conceded just 9 goals in the whole La Liga season keeping 23 clean sheets. So this all shows the development of the Barcelona team. However, the performance of the Catalan side in European competitions still remains a big doubt as the Xavi’s side is more young less experienced, and still in development as Barca fans and board hope for a new and bright Era to begin.
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