FC Barcelona: End of Season Review

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Credit: Feelgrafix.com

League position

Champions (W29 D4 L5 – 76% win rate)

Cups

Champions League – semi-finals (lost to Atlético Madrid)

Copa del Rey – WINNERS – beat Sevilla 2-0 on 22/5.

The good

*Retaining the title, with the fight against Madrid going down to the final day. Closer than Luis Enrique probably would have liked but they beat Madrid home and away so ultimately a deserved championship win.

*Retaining the Copa del Rey. Sevilla’s players grafted for 120 minutes but looked spent from dishing out a schooling to Liverpool in the Europa League final. Barça finished with 10 men (Mascherano sent packing in the first half) and Sevilla with 9 (Banega and Carriço off in stoppage and extra time respectively).

*Luis Suárez – incredible form from the Uruguayan who racked up 40 La Liga goals, with 16 assists along the way, making the first time in 25 years the same players has finished top of the goals and assist charts in Spain. Also chipped in with 8 goals in 9 Champions League games. The numbers rank highly alongside his workrate which by itself is exceptional. And he has behaved himself on the pitch. Wonders will never cease! Suffered a likely hamstring tear in the CdR final and will probably miss the Copa America which is a huge blow for the player and his country.

*Sergi Roberto – looked a hopeless case and there isn’t a Barça fan anywhere that would have been bothered had he been sold last summer. Yet Luis Enrique not only turned him into an important impact player but he got him doing it in several different positions. Highlight was probably his performance at right back away at Madrid in November, particularly the assist to Suárez. Will probably be disappointed to have been overlooked by Vicente del Bosque for the European Championships, particularly with Isco and Fabregas finding themselves included after their abject club seasons.

The bad

*Going out of the Champions League to Atlético, although on the balance of the two games Simeone’s men deserved it.

*Squad planning – the Barça squad is small, made smaller by Luis Enrique’s reluctance to use his substitutes. Are they not good enough? Does he not trust them? Probably a mixture. The signings of Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal have been expensive disasters. Turan’s style doesn’t fit with the midfield play of Busquets, Rakitic and Iniesta. He’s a good player and it’s just a shame he doesn’t fit. Likely to be sold. Vidal’s situation is odd – has struggled to even make the matchday squads despite being back to fitness. Should be mounting a challenge for Dani Alves’ spot at right back (although the Brazilian has had another excellent season) yet has seen Sergi Roberto, Adriano and even Douglas used there.

The ugly

*Douglas. Continues to steal a living at Camp Nou. And has a man-bun. As a player he makes Oleguer look like Cafu.

*Adriano. Permanently injured. Always available for the team selfies though. Was able to collect his CdR trophy without pulling his groin.

*The club trying to blag Nolito on the cheap in January from Celta Vigo. Embarrassing.

*Marc Bartra – hugely talented player who can’t even make the bench. Clearly not fancied and will be on his way. Should be in the sights of Manchester United. But probably won’t be.

The future

*The club wants a left back, a centre back and a forward. Shifting unwanted players like Turan, Sandro, Adriano, Douglas and Bartra will help free up cash and space.

*Denis Suarez – likely to return to the club via his buy back clause (€3.5 million) after his excellent season with Villarreal.

*Major renovations are planned for Camp Nou – apparently there will be no impact on the playing budgets but with no shirt sponsor agreed for next season that remains to be seen. On the plus side there will be no sponsor on the first batch of shirts produced by Nike.

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