For the first time in six years, Barcelona did not win a major trophy. An early Supercopa Espana win was not enough to impress Barcelona fans and certainly not sufficient to save the job of Gerardo Martino.
With Luis Enrique set to take the reins, a major revamp is expected to take place. Enrique has pledged to reinvigorate the side with a raft of new signings, and revolutionise the club’s style of play.
And although Barcelona are not the dominant force they once were, the scale of change Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu envisages is unnecessary.
The current Barcelona team is far from a weak one. In fact it is a team that came one goal away from winning La Liga. A team that was undone only by one moment of brilliance by a speedy Welshman in the Copa Del Rey final. A team that cruised to a 22nd League title with 100 points last term.
So what is the difference between this season and the last? Two things; Gerardo Martino and Neymar. The prior has already cleared his desk at the Camp Nou with former midfielder Luis Enrique taking charge.
Tata never seemed to fit Barcelona. He made his mistakes. Shifting Messi to an ineffective right-wing position and an over-reliance on crossing were a few. Moreover, Barcelona hit the back of the net 15 times less than last year.
This was a problem the Neymar was supposed to rectify. The Brazilian, who was signed to reduce Barcelona’s reliance on Lionel Messi, has had an indifferent start to life at Barcelona, scoring 15 goals in 41 appearances. Yet there are question marks as to whether he can form an effective partnership with the Argentine.
Enrique’s task will be to get those two firing, much in the same way Carlo Ancelotti has done at Real Madrid with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Solving this particular problem will go a long way to helping the team as a whole. Though many remark about Barcelona’s defensive inadequacies, they conceded seven goals less than they did in their title-winning season.
All teams need some element of change if they are to continue being successful. And Barcelona are no different. And Luis Enrique has every right to enforce his own philosophy and sign players conducive to playing it.
But they already have the tools and the blueprints for success and must hold on to some of those values. For Barcelona, it should be a case of evolution, not revolution. Is Tika-Taka dead? Maybe. Are Barcelona? Far from it.
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