The Champions League offers a fresh start but little guarantees for Barcelona

The Champions League offers a fresh start but little guarantees for Barcelona

Madrid, October 19, 2020 (AFP) Gerard Pique has called for changes from top to bottom, but it has been 65 days since Bayern Munich’s humiliation and Barcelona’s recovery appears to be incomplete.

Eight of the team that started the humiliation in Lisbon still stands, although Pique said no one should be safe.

The club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, is still the same, although more than 16,000 members have signed a petition to dispose of him.

Luis Suarez was eventually expelled to Atlético de Madrid, and Ronald Koeman replaced Quique Setien as coach in the most important turns of a supposed revolutionary summer.

But Koeman was never a date who immediately won players off while Suarez’s exit left Lionel Messi in a rage, another opportunity duly used to criticize Bartomeu and the board.

“It is normal for a player to feel a little sad when a friend of his leaves his cards after their years together, but that is part of football,” said Coman.

Messi said last season that Barcelona had not been good enough to win the Champions League, and he proved to be right, showing modesty with a score of 8-2 at the hands of Bayern that gaped the difference between nearby champions and the team he has. Only one time has passed since the 2015 quarter-finals.

As Barcelona prepare to make a comeback, and their latest European confrontation with Hungary’s Ferencváros begins on Tuesday, the concern will be that there is no indication that they are better this time.

Summer’s biggest deal, Miralem Pjanic, was the result of an economic process aimed at balancing the books and whether it would be a big promotion for Arthur Melo, who went the other way to Juventus, remains open to question.

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Trying to change the team

Pedri, who signed from Las Palmas in a deal agreed last year, was one of the bright sparks in Barcelona’s first month, and the attacking midfielder was particularly impressive in their 1–0 loss to Getafe on Saturday.

But he is 17 years old, and like 20-year-old Francisco Trenceau, he is not expected to change that team now.

Serginho Dest, the latest arriving from Ajax, is 19 years old, although he can expect to appear more regularly to fill the void at right-back.

“The club is trying to change the team,” Koeman said. “There are very young players who will get chances.”

Barcelona could not afford Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan or Memphis Depay in Lyon, leaving Coman with a team he did not want and did not plan.

However, his job still somehow still makes Barcelona compete again with the elite in Europe.

And he will be tasked with making up for the gap not only with Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain but also the likes of Manchester City, who spent 160 million euros in the transfer period, and Liverpool who added Thiago Alcantara, one of Barcelona’s youth teams and now is arguably the best midfield playmaker in the world.

All the while, Messi’s uncertain future remains, with each disappointment increasing the possibility that he will speak to other clubs in January.

Few can criticize Messi’s performance since his attempt to leave in the summer, but his only penalty kick in four opening matches for Barcelona this season is definitely not the pinnacle of the Argentine’s performance.

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Arguably his best chance of survival is if Koeman leaves, given that the Dutchman’s departure will likely mean that there has been a change of president.

Bartomeu is set to face a vote of no confidence in the next few weeks after a successful petition by the club’s members, which means that the club’s president, coach and captain are still in the air.

Two and a half months after losing to Bayern Munich, the new Champions League offers Barcelona hope but few guarantees.

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