In the broader complex of footballing history, it is unlikely the capitulation at Roma will ultimately be remembered; it is even possible that the capitulation at Anfield fades into obscurity. But I can assure everyone reading this that this game, the ultimate embarrassment of a spiraling, directionless club, will be remembered forever.
While most football fans can respond to this situation with either laughing, astonishment or mockery, Barca fans have to think about what’s next. No player at Barcelona will ever be able to shake this moment, and these are players who have won everything.
Lionel Messi has previously said that Anfield still haunts him; this will be at another level. It seems like the most obvious statement of all time, but something is not working right at Barcelona. Scratch that, absolutely NOTHING is working right at Barcelona.
I must admit, even after conceding La Liga to Real Madrid, I still felt confident about next season, with youngsters like Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati, Monchu, Trincao, etc. showing lots of potential. That’s all gone now. It’s not their fault, but it’s all gone now.
The change needs to come, and it needs to come now. It’s not just managers and players, it’s everything about the way this football club is run. For starters, the most important first step, Josep Maria Bartomeu needs to resign. Now.
At this point, there’s nothing else to say. Bartomeu has destroyed this club, and if he cares even the slightest bit about his team, he would pack his bags and be gone by morning. Exactly like Gerard Pique just offered to do.
“The club needs changes, structural ones, not players or managers,” Pique told reporters. “I’m the first to leave if new blood is needed, because now, we’ve hit rock bottom.”
Rock bottom indeed. Anfield was humiliating, but this is just a whole new level, and it will get even worse the longer Bartomeu stays.
Reports have already surfaced that presidential candidate Victor Font has called on Bartomeu to resign and wants elections as soon as possible, which is good news, and Messi himself has also reportedly told Bartomeu that he will leave if no major changes are made at the club.
Manager Quique Setien will undoubtedly leave, if he is not sacked (which he will be) he will resign, but his poor game management is the least of our worries at the moment. This entire club needs to be rebuilt, including the players.
Of the players who started against Bayern, Messi, Frenkie De Jong, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (even with how horrendous his performance was tonight), Clement Lenglet, and maybe Jordi Alba should be the only ones to stay. The rest need to leave, or at least not start.
Am I aware I’m including Sergio Busquets, a Blaugrana legend, and Luis Suarez on this list? Yes. Suarez’s one moment of class doesn’t make up for his inconsistency all season, and the fact that this is his first away goal in the Champions League in four seasons speaks volumes.
Busquets cannot be trusted in the games against top teams anymore, sadly. He didn’t play well against Liverpool last year, and he outdid himself this time around. Sergi Roberto, Pique (who should not be starting anymore, he practically said so himself), Nelson Semedo, and Arturo Vidal all have no futures at this club.
Roberto, our Remontada hero, plays the worst game of his career in one of his most important? Semedo gets absolutely battered by a 19-year-old? If Vidal can’t even cause the chaos and destruction he prides himself on, then what good is he?
For anyone who thinks Bartomeu’s style of play is “pragmatic but smart”, look at three embarrassments three years in a row, each one worse than the other, playing like this. Starting Roberto and Vidal in midfield to deal with Bayern’s press with Puig not getting a single minute.
This lineup that Setien fielded is finished. Most of this squad is finished, and I wouldn’t blame Messi in the slightest for calling up his old pal Pep and joining forces with him. Without a total rebuild, there is no Barca future.
I am very eager to hear what Bartomeu will say after this latest disaster. If he says something other than “this is mostly my fault, I am formally tendering my resignation” then he does not have the best interests of the club at heart. But I’ve never doubted that for a second anyway.
Over €400m spent on three players. In the most important game of the season, one didn’t play, one might as well have not played, and of course, the other one comes on and gets two goals and an assist in 15 minutes against us.
If this is not an indication of the incompetence of the current board and president, I’m not sure what is.
He needs to go, Font needs to come in, and he needs to give Messi an actual team he can play with. What currently exists at the club, that is no team, that is a collection of individuals struggling to play with the greatest player of all time.
In an ideal world, I’d like to see Messi become player-manager of Barcelona, but that will never happen, so beg Xavi to come back, which he could do if Font is elected early. La Masia has fortunately not dropped off, and that is the only solution.
Promote from within. Play the Barcelona way. Develop the youth. Follow the words of the late, great Johan Cruyff. Bring back the old guard. Transform this team into the powerhouse it once was. Because right now, Barcelona is slowly becoming AC Milan, and we cannot stand for that.
After a humiliating performance like the one we’ve just witnessed, we can only assume change is coming. But whatever they are thinking, it’s not enough. We need a total rebuild.