Lionel Messi made it 1-0 as a low rolling cross by Dani Alves found the feet of Messi inside the box and Leo put it in the back of the net. Getafe got the equalizer in the 37th minute as a set piece led to Angel Lafita putting a low shot past Jose Manuel Pinto to make it 1-1. In the second half, Alexis Sanchez made it 2-1 as a lovely run by Cesc Fabregas found Pedro whose shot was blocked, but Sanchez was there to put in the rebound for the lead. But in stoppage time, terrible defending led to Lafita heading in the equalizer. Liga over.
Final: FC Barcelona 2-2 Getafe
Just like in the 2007-08 season when the 2003-08 FCB era came to an end, the 2008-14 FCB era will end here in the 2013-14 without a major title.
Here are some of my thoughts.
The Barcelona board is...
Yes, we all dislike the current FCB board. It's all been a disaster, and yes, we would like new elections. But let's be honest, new elections will probably not happen. We are, sadly, just going to have to deal with this board and hope that SOMEHOW and SOMEWAY, this FCB board proves us all wrong and makes smart, well-though signings and decisions.
Football gods, help us.
A pathetic performance on such a lovely day
Saturday was such a lovely day in Barcelona, yet it ended in Barça's Liga title hoping crashing down. And to lose wearing the "Tito, per sempre" on their chest makes it even tougher for all.
Truly no words...
A new winger needed?
The question many are asking is if a new winger is truly needed. Most would say "Of course!" but some are still hopeful that Alexis Sanchez and/or Pedro can remain with the team.
Alexis has star power. He played well against Getafe, but he-like Pedro-is very inconsistent. Many teams will call Andoni Zubizarreta to see if he is available. Pedro had a great start to the season, but faded soon after.
Zubi should listen to offers. It may be unpopular to see a Masia product like Pedro, but this has been three seasons of inconsistency by Pedro. Alexis could go for the right price, but only if Barcelona has a deal with another winger already in place.
Time to play some potential "sell-bait" for the last two games
With La Liga done, it would be best for Barcelona to play some of "sell-bait" for the last few Liga games. I doubt Tata would make many changes, but it would be best to see players like Cristian Tello, Alex Song, Ibrahim Afellay, and Isaac Cuenca play. Dani Alves, who I believe will be sold this summer, already starts. Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, Javier Mascherano, and Pedro, all believed to be on the "sellable" category, are playing regularly as well.
For me, I think it benefits both the player and the club to give players who will potentially leave some playing time so that other clubs can get a view of what they could be buying. It's all business, not personal.
Seven players added this summer?
This past week, reports out of Catalunya came out stating FC Barcelona are looking to spend over 120 million euros in signings, and as many as seven players could be added.
And you know what, it's needed.
As I've mentioned in my previous "Fin De Ciclo" articles, there are some players that have gotten too comfortable at Barcelona. Many are stating that this season is worse that 2007-08.
I believe five to seven changes are needed. Anything less than five new players is an absolute disgrace of a summer for Barcelona, in my opinion. We already know that Marc-Andre ter Stegen is one signing, so I don't count that. I won't count the Alen Halilović signing as one of the signings needed because he will play for Barça B. Barcelona still needs at minimum five new players to go along with ter Stegen and Rafinha Alcantara and Gerard Deulofeu, both returning from loan. €120 million is enough to sign five top-tier players. Plus, selling current players will bring in more money as well.
Reports state that on Monday, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta will meet with the Barcelona board and present his plans for summer signings. After the Getafe game, Zubi told the media the rebuilding will start at the end of this season-meaning, in two weeks.
Zubi, you and the board have let us down too many times. But please, redeem yourself. Start with the defense.
Tata Martino: a man lost
Players take much of the blame, as they should. But for me, I can't help but look to Tata Martino for many of these pathetic, lethargic FC Barcelona performances. I'm sorry, but last season, there was still fire in the eyes of these players. When Jordi Roura and when Tito was on the bench, the players still had fight in them.
Now, I see no fight in the Barcelona players at all. I don't believe all of them suddenly lost the passion to play football. Motivation comes from within, but the manager is man that sparks the fire within for many games. To be fair, perhaps these Barcelona players fought hard for Roura and of course Tito because they were both part of the Pep Guardiola staff. Pep pushed his players hard, and Tito and Roura continued this. Tata Martino has a different style, and the players have clearly never bought into it.
Lionel Messi is the most competitive footballer in the world. He always wants to play, he always wants the ball, and he always wants to score the goal. Messi would take the game to the opponent. Now, it looks like Messi waits for the game to come to him. The skill is there, but now he's just not motivated and, for me, it seems that he's grown a bit tired of Tata's tactics. Then again, haven't we all?!
It's clear Gerardo "Tata" Martino lost this team at some point during the season, and it's clear that Tata is not an effective motivator for a team like Barcelona. Perhaps his tactics and motivational speeches work in South America, but La Liga and FC Barcelona is the big stage, and Tata Martino is a small-time manager. Sorry, business, not personal.
After the loss, Tata Martino took all of the blame with class. "I'm to blame for this season. Sometimes you feel you don't have to ask for a second chance because you don't deserve it."
Tata knows the writing is on the wall.
Tata Martino is better off announcing sooner rather than later that he will be leaving at the end of the season. We all know he won't be back next season, but he should save face and announce he's leaving before he gets "officially" fired. Perhaps he and Josep Maria Bartomeu have talked about leaving, but now, it's best for all to announce that changes are coming, and everyone can get ready to move on with their careers.
After the loss, Tata told the media "My future? This is not the time to talk about that, there will be time later to say what needs to be said."
Perhaps he and Bartomeu indeed have talked.
A new era will begin with a new manager.
Luis Enrique, you may be next.
Xoel's Final Word
The Liga title was lost on Saturday as FC Barcelona let their slim title chances slip away as Getafe got the 2-2 draw.
The game was the fitting way to end Barça's season because it was the embodiment of this 2013-14 FC Barcelona season: poor defending, lethargic play, injury-rattled, unable to finish off the opponent early, lack of motivation and in dire need of changes.
The season has been one to forget.
But despite the disappointment, I'll still support the team, and I hope they play well and win these last two games. Always support the team-in the good times and in the bad.
I'll always be proud to be a Culé. Better days will come, but for now, all Culés will just have to be strong as this current FC Barcelona era fades to black.
A new era awaits this summer.
Xoel, The Voice of els Culés