Like most of us Barcelona will have been relieved to see the back of 2020 but head into a new year facing a hectic fixture list and the intriguing prospect of presidential elections at the end of the month.
Barca play five La Liga games in January, four of which are away from home, and will not be back at the Camp Nou until Athletic come to visit on January 31.
Before then Ronald Koeman’s side head to Huesca, Athletic, Granada and Elche.
In between there’s also a trip to Andalusia for a Spanish Cup semi-final against Real Sociedad on January 13. Win that and Barca get to play again versus either Real Madrid or Athletic.
Packed schedule to open 2021 pic.twitter.com/iY91iNgjkm— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 1, 2021
Barca’s away form has been less then impressive again this season. The team have won two and lost three from six on their travels in La Liga, managing just eight goals along the way.
Three of those game in a 3-0 win over Real Valladolid in Barca’s last away match which offered some encouragement, but unless Koeman’s men can improve their away form quickly it could end up being yet another long month.
Of course the transfer window is open but reinforcements look unlikely due to the club’s financial difficulties and with a new president on the way. The late scheduling of the elections means the new man in charge will have just a week of the window with which to work.
Long-term injury victims Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, and Philippe Coutinho won’t be back anytime soon, although Sergi Roberto is due back in January after suffering a thigh injury in November.
And then there’s the elections where Barca will finally appoint a new president to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu. The candidates have been busy promising all sorts in the build-up to the main event and the new man in charge will certainly have plenty to sort out.
Resolving key issues such as whether Lionel Messi will continue after this season, the club’s recruitment plans and Ronald Koeman’s future will all be near the top of the new president’s to-do list which should make for yet more drama at the Camp Nou.