Barcelona were once lauded as the greatest club team in the history of the game. Pep Guardiola's Barca took on all-comers over a four-year period and were rightly acclaimed.
November 29, 2010 was the day when it all came together. A 5-0 "manita" (little hand) against a previously unbeaten Real Madrid, managed by Jose Mourinho.
Those who watched the game were all in agreement that it was the best performance at club level of all-time. Yet just four years later and we see a club in absolute and total disarray, and a team that is disjointed and ill-prepared.
Barcelona have become a laughing stock. That they are still trying to trade off of the "Mes que un club" (More than a club) tagline is nothing short of embarrassing.
A club that has "seriously breached" FIFA regulations pertaining to those players U16 cannot possibly hold itself up as the exemplar any longer. The connotations are offensive to every other team in La Liga. The downward spiral started once the truth behind the Neymar deal was exposed and has swiftly escalated.
It says much that Rosell preferred to fall on his own sword rather than have to disclose further details of the deal in the courts.
An unelected sidekick taking office in Josep-Maria Bartomeu was never going to work in the long-term, but any self-respecting Barca fan surely wouldn't have seen the crumbling of an empire so swiftly executed.
Ex-Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta's purchases were highlighted when FIFA's transfer ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
It brought into sharp focus just how unsuitable "Zubi" had been in the position. Douglas, Thomas Vermaelen...his charge sheet reads like a who's who of players not to purchase.
On the pitch Barca have fared little better either. Certainly the club could've done without Tata Martino admitting that: "I didn't make any mark on Barcelona, it was a bubble in my career in terms of what I did as a coach [...]I made some monumental mistakes with Barcelona."
At this juncture Luis Enrique's hire has been nothing short of a disaster. What do you expect when you play 25 different starting line ups in 25 successive games and then refuse to discuss the same with your playing staff when they question such amateur tactical nous?
The Catalans should've seen it coming. Whilst in Serie A, it was noted that: "He (Enrique) never managed to inspire motivation and concentration in the team.
"[...] The fault for such a lack of personality – and a neverending discontinuity - has to be ascribed to the coach.
It's odd for a player that became famous also for his grit and leadership, but he clearly didn't manage to convey these characteristics over to his players. Barca have five months before hastily rearranged club elections. Enrique will be hoping that the smile is put back on Barca's face well before then."
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