“You must have watched a different game, Renato”. That’s what I heard online and from friends in real life after being positive about Barcelona’s win against Real Sociedad on Saturday. My point of view is that Barcelona were solid, competed really hard for 90 minutes and created enough chances to win by more than just a VAR-awarded penalty in the 80th minute. I didn’t think Barcelona were perfect, but I continue to see progress and still believe Quique Setién has his team on the right path.
Apparently I’m wrong, and I accept that. I don’t know everything about football, but I watch every Barcelona game with the audio on mute so my thoughts on the game aren’t influenced by commentators and the atmosphere in the stadium. I concentrate solely on the football, and I say what I think about the football I saw, and sometimes I might not be accurate in my analysis.
But another important factor in my analysis is this: I’ve accepted that Barcelona won’t be great for a while. It’s 2020, and I’ve learned to accept that in 2020 I cannot question why I’m not watching Pep Guardiola’s team anymore and why we don’t have 80% possession and 30 shots every game. The squad is different, so many of the players don’t fit the philosophy and those who remain from those great days are literally a decade older and can’t bring it at the highest level every single time.
Am I happy that the people in charge have ruined this club, perhaps beyond repair unless the new people in charge get every decision right whenever they take charge? Absolutely not, and I want change to happen really soon, but here’s a little history lesson from a longtime Barça fan: being good but not great because of terrible presidents is WHAT WE ARE. Sometimes the only thing Barcelona fans can celebrate is a bycicle kick from Rivaldo to qualify the team for the Europa League, then a Johan Cruyff or Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique comes along, gets to coach an insanely talented team and we have a few Dream Teams and Treble Winners to enjoy for a while.
The rest of the time, you just roll with the punches, you adapt and you wonder why Barça aren’t run by one of those rational German sporting directors who love stability and make great decisions all the time. So yeah, I don’t think Barcelona were awful against Real Sociedad. And yeah, I wish that I wasn’t celebrating such small victories. But yeah, this is what I’ve been used to for 20-plus years.
If you truly love your football club, you will never do it more than you do in the bad times. That’s when you truly connect, that’s when you find out you actually bleed their colors. When the good times come, and they always come at Barcelona, it will feel even better. I promise.
Or maybe I just watched a different game.