There has never been a better club side in the history of football than Barcelona.
Their team of the last five years have broken all the records and won everything there is to win; they even won the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League in the 2008/09 season.
They did this by breeding their own youth including the magnificent trio of Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández who all came through the club’s youth system at La Masía, as did Gerard Piqué, Carles Puyol, Pedro Rodríguez and many more.
However, the 2012/13 season produced somewhat of a brick wall for Barcelona. Some began to suggest that it was the end of an era.
In 2012/13 Barcelona started very promisingly but it would turn out to be another season where only one trophy was won. By Barcelona’s standards only two or more trophies a season are counted as a success. But they still managed reclaim the La Liga trophy from their biggest rivals, Real Madrid: winning by 15 points with a record-equalling 100 points in total.
And they also once again reached the Champions semi-final where they faced Bayern Munich. It was a tie that every Barcelona player, coach and fan would want to forget. They were thrashed 7-0 on aggregate by a team who are emerging as Barcelona’s successors to become the best club side in the world.
But let’s analyse Barcelona’s 2012/13 season more closely. Yes, they were thrashed 7-0 on aggregate by Bayern Munich and, yes, Real Madrid knocked them out of the Copa del Rey and, yes, they only won one trophy, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that they won La Liga very convincingly and equalled Madrid’s record of getting 100 points in a season.
And they do have excuses when it comes to the Champions League: they lacked a good defensive partnership because Puyol got injured; for once all their big players weren’t performing consistently on a weekly basis; and Messi got a hamstring injury towards the important, business end of the season.
This was the season when “Messidependencia” – in other words a dependence on Messi – really showed itself, especially because all the other big players like Xavi, Iniesta and Villa weren’t performing as amazingly as usual. Messi wasn’t fit for the semi-finals of the Champions League against Bayern; in the first leg he played but wasn’t anywhere near fully fit and in the second leg he didn’t even play.
However, all is not lost for Barcelona. As long as next season they buy a new defender and all the players get a good rest this summer, everything should return to normal.
Plus they have signed the up-and-coming superstar Neymar. If he performs for them like he performed for Santos then everything should be more than fine. It could be a mouth-watering prospect if a successful Messi-Neymar partnership was to be formed.
So bring on next season. Don’t be surprised to find them in the Champions League final once again.
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