Monday , June 21 2021

Spain: a setback and everything collapses for Barça

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Barcelona (AFP)

Everything has to be redone: FC Barcelona’s heavy defeat in the classic against Real Madrid (3-1) on Saturday reminded us that the Champions League festival against Ferencvaros (5-1) on Tuesday was just an enchanted parenthesis for a club entangled in an endless crisis.

For his first classic as Barça coach, Ronald Koeman was not spoiled.

Faced with 99,000 empty seats at Camp Nou, the first in a long history of rivalry between the two ogres of Spanish football, his team suffered the second consecutive defeat in La Liga, after losing 1-0 at Getafe on 17 October .

This is the first time in more than four years that the Catalan club has recorded two consecutive defeats in the league: at the time, in April 2016 under the command of Luis Enrique, FC Barcelona had lost three in a row against Valencia, Real Sociedad and. .. Real Madrid.

Koeman, called to the rescue two months ago to succeed Quique Setién, still made risky bets that worked for a long time, and Barça offered one of their best matches for several weeks.

The Dutch coach dared to put French world champion Antoine Griezmann on the bench to start 17-year-old Pedri on the right wing. He relied on 19-year-old rookie Sergino Dest (first American to debut in a classic) to cover the right-back position, and Jordi Alba, back after an injury to his right thigh, as the left side.

– Messi replaced –

He bet mainly to place the young prodigy Ansu Fati (18 years old on October 31), Barça’s only scorer on Saturday and the best manager of the Catalan club since the start of the season (5 goals in 6 matches), as a striker, in place of legendary captain Lionel Messi, placed in a more remote but more interventionist role than N.10.

Despite some flaws to correct (a double pivot Sergio Busquets – Frenkie De Jong less present, changes too late after 80), Koeman managed to give color to Barça, who equaled the playing field with Zinédine Zidane’s Real, before the knockout by Sergio Ramos from a penalty after 63 minutes.

For the first time in a long time, Barça found solutions thanks to the combination of passes in small spaces, which is its DNA.

If the balance is worrying with seven points in five games, synonymous with 12th provisional spot before Sunday’s matches, it is not by land that the blaugrana club’s difficulties are most felt.

This defeat reminds fans and leaders that their club has been experiencing an almost permanent crisis since January 2020.

“In the blink of an eye, the crisis of the Bernabéu was transferred to Camp Nou”, summarized Marca, Spain’s best-selling newspaper, in its Sunday edition, referring to the shadow of the sack that is sidelined from Zinédine Zidane in Real Madrid, after the convincing success of his team.

– Summit meeting Monday –

On Monday, according to the Catalan press, President Josep Maria Bartomeu will convene his executive committee to decide whether to continue to resist until the vote of censure is weighed or whether to resign in advance.

The motion of censure launched in August by opponents and future candidates for the presidency of the club has accumulated a sufficient number of signatures of members (supporters-shareholders) and aims to remove Bartomeu and the current management before the March elections. 2021 and the end of his term, normally scheduled for the summer of 2021.

Koeman’s speech last Saturday at a news conference after the match against Ramos’s penalty against Clément Lenglet for a while diverted the attention of Catalan analysts and fans.

But Barça really doesn’t have time to breathe: he faces Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in Turin on Tuesday in the Champions League, a new trial by fire for a club that is taking time to rebuild.

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