The weight of expectation has always been heavy for Football Club Barcelona but even after an historic La Liga and Copa del Rey double, fans are still not happy with the way things have panned out this season.
The pain of the Champions League exit in Rome was too much to bear for many. Despite numerous pundits writing the team off at the commencement of the season, a surprising run of victories had many believing that the holiest of football trinities was within reach. However, a toothless performance against Roma saw the dream come crashing down quicker than a termit-riddled tree in a gale-force wind. Criticism for both the team and Ernesto Valverde’s tactics followed and the relative success of the season has been all but overshadowed by that solitary game in Italy.
There’s little doubt that the treble is the pinnacle of achievement in European football but it’s also a rarity. Only seven teams have achieved the feat and Barcelona are the only team to have done it twice. Perhaps this level of success in recent times has fostered a mentality amongst supporters that’s just not viable. Either way, it’s time this team were given their just dues. The knockout loss in the Champions League hurt but there is still much to celebrate.
The Double is a worthy achievement, only four teams in La Liga have ever won it: Athletic Bilbao, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona. And of the four teams it’s Barça that have won it most, achieving the feat a record eight times. In fact, over the last ten years the Blaugrana have won the double four times, the league title seven times and the Copa del Rey six times. Such dominance is to be applauded.
Furthermore, the way in which Barcelona have cast their rivals aside to win La Liga this season is astounding. Theirs is the earliest title in twenty years and the first unbeaten league title since 1932. It’s pure dominance. Sure, there have been moments where the team has looked shaky and there has been an element of luck at times but the fact that they remain unbeaten with just three matches to play is testament to the fortitude and resolve this team has.
There’s no doubting that Valverde’s tactics, especially those in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final need to be addressed and there also needs to be a stronger focus on European dominance in the years to come but what’s done is done and no amount of talk will change what’s happened. Instead, it’s time to celebrate what should ultimately be considered a successful season.