By Aditya Krishnan
“We finished the season how we wanted to finish it, I leave with the feeling of mission accomplished.”
Luis Enrique said after winning the Copa Del Rey.
After an illustrious career at Barcelona, Luis Enrique decided to leave.
The board decided to bring former Barcelona player Ernesto Valverde to become the next Barcelona Manager.
The club was going through a transition when Valverde took over. Neymar went to PSG, breaking the transfer market (In terms of money), Ousmane Dembele arrived from Dortmund, who later didn't live up to the expectation.
Analyzing Valverde's time in Barcelona, he did a fairly well job at the domestic level, winning La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Spanish Super cup, Barca dominated at El Classico under him.
He was not fan favourite as he had a different approach with tactics that he used. This was very different to the iconic Tiki-Taka style.
The board in the January transfer window decided to bring Phillipe Coutinho for a record fee. He was supposed to fill Iniesta's footprint however he couldn't perform.
The team was dependent on Messi, Arthur was impressive, defence was solid, but it was Messi who carried the team especially in the final third. He was simply unlucky to not win the treble in 2019, he was just three wins away from an another historic treble for the Catalan club.
That UCL season was very unpredictable, starting with Drake's curse, to Manchester United's come back against PSG, Ajax defeating Real Madrid, and not to mention Liverpool's comeback against Barcelona at Anfield.
The way Barcelona played at Anfield was very unprofessional. Messi, Vidal gave their best, but it was not enough.
That night at Anfield was the turning point for Barcelona. The hashtag
flooded social media for months!
The 2019-20 season started, with Griezmann arriving at Camp Nou. Barca had a very unimpressive campaign that season, away form was weak, defence was very poor. The team looked very fragile during counter attacks.
That season was very controversial, with a social media scandal overlooked by Bartomeu aimed to taint senior Barca players' images unfolded.
Valverde's final game was the 3-2 loss at Spanish Super cup against Atletico Madrid.
He was sacked by the board, despite Barcelona being league leaders. Before leaving he was full of praise for Messi. He was seen smiling driving away.
It has been a little over a year since his departure, and Barca suffered greater damage since his departure, this includes, economic loss, defeat against Bayern Munich(Coutinho came to haunt his team), losing La Liga trophy, resignation of Abidal and Bartomeu. Departure of Suarez, Vidal, Rakitic, and Arthur, Messi's burofax to the club. (Very close to leaving.)
Now things look very different under Koeman. Araujo has been impressive, the team is performing. However, there was a time when Valverde used to play B-team for remainder matches in La Liga at least. That level of dominance is what Barca deserves. To conclude, I would say that he was a good manager, handled pressure very well, but was just unlucky.
© 2021 Aditya Krishnan
Utkarsh Pathak on January 27, 2021:
Great article enjoyed reading it