In a season that was initially defined by low expectations and plenty of question marks, what will define a successful season for Barcelona once they hang up their boots this summer? There will be different answers for what different individuals care about, so my opinion may not be the same as yours.
Here’s where Barcelona are today: a large lead in La Liga, about to play a floundering Chelsea in the Champions League, and a game away from the Copa del Rey final. During the odd transfer window that was this summer, many would have taken this progress midway through the season.
In a vacuum their progress in each tournament/league is extraordinary. A larger than life lead in La Liga isn’t something that happens often this early in the season. Especially when also competing near the top of the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
What’s made this Barcelona season even more impressive is how they’ve juggled competing in these three competitions so flawlessly even through injuries. So far in this season, Barcelona have far exceeded even lofty expectations. How they finish the Champions League and La Liga will define their season long term, they’ll need to come away with one trophy from those two competitions.
But in looking at this season specifically I would dare to say that a trophy isn’t needed to validate the impressive turn around and progress we’ve seen from the club. At the beginning of the season it appeared that Real Madrid were setup for a reign of success in La Liga and in Europe that Barcelona wouldn’t be able to match. But just half a year later, Barcelona have put themselves in the driver’s seat in both domestic competitions and in Europe.
Finishing the season with one trophy in either La Liga or the Champions League would be enough to validate a successful season for Barcelona in my mind. But trophies aside, Barcelona have advanced through some tough times in the last 12 months, and how they’re reacting on the pitch has been magnificent.