My dear Culés, the time has come to face the following unfortunate reality: our beloved FC Barcelona may well lose their La Liga title to Real Madrid. This is something I'm loathe to even bring up, considering the possibility that the Blaugrana will mount a spirited comeback, but with a ten point spread and only 14 matches to go, It's time to come to terms with what losing La Liga means for Barcelona.
First of all, it's important to remember that Barcelona is still having a sensational season, and losing La Liga does not guarantee an unsuccessful year. With the team in the final of the Copa del Rey, and looking very strong in Champions League play, there are still two other titles that can be won by FC Barcelona this season. Interestingly, winning the Copa del Rey can ensure a crack at another Supercup crown at the expense of Real Madrid-a very fine way to start off the 2012/2013 campaign.
Losing La Liga may not signal a disastrous campaign, but it does show us that Real Madrid has finally caught up to Barcelona. While they still can't beat the Blaugrana head-to-head, their squad is better built for a long La Liga campaign than is Barcelona's. Fast, physical play that overpowers opposition is a very simple, repeatable formula for success. Barcelona relies on a much more technical approach, and a slight dip in motivation, a key injury to the midfield, or simple fatigue can all cause points to be dropped. Madrid went out and bought the fastest, most physical side they could, and this year they're finally reaping the reward. Barcelona is still the better team, but their formula for success is much more complex and prone to breaking down.
We've been spoiled by a ridiculous run of success under Pep Guardiola. La Liga has always been his stated priority, and he's delivered three consecutive titles. But we all knew Madrid would win it back sooner or later. Rarely has either club captured the crown for more than three consecutive seasons, and with the amount of money being spent in the capitol city, it's hard to expect Los Blancos to be denied for long.
I know we'd like nothing more than for Barcelona to win La Liga for all of eternity, but if a title had to be lost, perhaps this is the best time for it to happen. Barça has all of its key players signed for the next few seasons, a relatively young core, and many more promising youngsters waiting their turn. This isn't some cobbled-together squad with aging stars and an uncertain future. The window of opportunity is not closing-in fact, it seems clear that Barcelona is better poised for future success than their eternal rivals Real Madrid.
The sight of Jose Mourinho and company parading through Madrid will make more than just yours truly want to puke. You can bet every player in blue and red will be equally upset, and will want nothing more than to take the title back next year.
There's one other man who may receive a special dose of motivation from losing La Liga: Pep Guardiola. Still yet to sign a contract extension, failing to capture the most important of titles may be just the ticket for Guardiola to re-up for next year. My guess is he wants to go out on top, and what could be more motivating than taking the Liga title back from Real Madrid?
Losing La Liga is going to be very painful for culés everywhere, and my hope is that this article is made irrelevant thanks to an epic comeback by FC Barcelona. But if this marvelous squad comes up short, let's remember that all is not lost, and a lengthy run of league titles may be just around the corner.