Let me start with a note that was repeated often in the staring of the season “The golden era is over for FC Barcelona.” Is it? We won double this season with Messi getting the Golden Boot award. We were nearly unbeaten in the league, loosing only the second last game to Levante and in total we lost only 3 games this season.
In the beginning of the season when Neymar left the club, then defeat in Spanish Super Cup by Real Madrid in both the games and the impeachment moment for club present Bartomeu was going on, most of the fans (plastic fans) and reveal clubs fans were like the golden era is over and FC Barcelona is done now. After that crazy singing of Paulinho from China for crazy 40M euro, Messi and Iniesta not renewing their contracts late till November 2017, changed many doubts to believe that its over for Barcelona and trust me i was not among them and had a strong believe that Paulinho will surely do and try to prove his critics wrong. After the game of Super Cup, what i heard in news that Messi told Valverde that he is going to carry Barcelona and he did so. Some hope came when Dembélé signed. Up until the game against Juventus many had their doubt, but what a game it was we defeated them by 3-0. After that game till the game again Valencia which was 1-1 draw, we looked solid and very very pragmatic specially in second half of all the games Valverde will surely find a way out for the team. Midfield became more active and Barcelona was playing with new formation 4-4-1-1 with Messi in false 9 role. The defence, we conceded only 29 goal in league this season and were unbeaten in champions league up until the Roam game in quarterfinal. Umtiti developed a lot and if we see his fees its a steal and no wonder he attract so many big clubs due to his low releasing claws, but today he signed a new contract with a releasing claws of 500 million euros. Dembele, when he arrived many had very high expectation from him that he will inherit Neymar but he didn’t get a good start and at the beginning of the season only he got injured and when he came back in winter again he got injury. Which made Valverde lose his believe in him and result of that he got so less playing time even toward the ending of the seasons. That was the catalyst for board and Valverde to go for Coutinho from Liverpool in winter which they couldn’t do in summer believing in Dembele. The addition of Coutinho gave mush rest to Iniesta and more attacking option to Valverde.
December El-Clasico: The Believe
That game was the turning point for Barcelona in the league and for self believe. After that all those critics and The end of Era tagline fans and supports went for hibernation period. After that it was a new pragmatic style of play with good defence and midfield Barcelona. The tiki-taka was at it’s best, then arrival of Coutinho in January. After the El-Classico in month of February 2018 Barcelona drew 3 games out of 5, all of the sudden it was an alarming moment for Barcelona with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid winning all the games the points different got reduced and the game against Atletico Madrid in 4th March 2018 was viewed as the most important game to win the league and we did it and again it was a free-kick goal from Messi. We were still unbeaten in league. In champions league again we were knocked out in quarterfinal 3 years in the row, i believe that we were the only team left in the competition that time who would have defeated Real Madrid. Then the second el-clasico came where Real Madrid were suppose to give Guard of Honer to Barcelona but they refused to do so, it’s an old believe and respect to the league winners but it’s understandable that Real Madrid don’t follow or don’t play with values they just play to win. In that game Barcelona went down to 10 men in half time, but this game was not about wining or losing for Barcelona since they were already crowned as League champions this game was about staying unbeaten in the league. The game drew 2-2 and the unbeaten run continued by Barcelona. But not for long, in the second last game against Levante after going down 5 to 1 in 56 mins and then losing to them 5-4 was a crazy. Giving away The Invincible mark which will go down in history was pathetic.
Copa del Rey Final was the last trophy win for Iniesta in FC Barcelona, and what a game we played. It was fantastic winning by 5 goals to nothing and the goal by Iniesta too. It was a god farewell for him. He will a few true gentleman who played the game who never got booed by any rival team, not even from the club derby team i.e. Espanyol. He will be idol for many and will be a true dental man who ever played this game.
Overall it was a great season for FC Barcelona, but as Xavi pointed out “It seems that Barcelona is winning titles but Real Madrid is winning Champions League” it very strange to see that in the Messi era Barcelona not winning Champions League and letting Real Madrid to win it back to back for 3 times in row. There will be many some few changes need to be done in all three department of the filed. Barcelona need to strengthen the squad depth and promote kids from La Masia.