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Barcelona must usher in a change in culture after facing ugly truths – opinion



Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Johan Cruyff once said, “Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring.”

Now looking at the current state of Barcelona, which half of the belief do you see being practiced at the club?

An imperative at Barcelona, winning is only acceptable if the performance accompanying it is supreme. Possession is the name of the game and without the ball, it’s not exactly ‘vintage Barca’ is it?

While it’s been a good rule of thumb to follow, Barcelona have adopted it as their bible.

After all, these values are the very foundations that make Barcelona ‘Mes que un Club’ – to not only win but also inspire and entertain.

However, judging by the season gone by, it’s an emerging feeling that this philosophy may have served them well in the past, but in the modern day and age, it is one that is leaving them behind.

A trophyless season

It’s clear Xavi’s Barcelona weren’t able to replicate or keep up with the glory and success they achieved in the 2022/23 season.

While injuries and questionable refereeing all played their part, it’s fair to say that the club’s distorted perspective has left them with nothing to show for.

Barcelona desperately lacks a winning culture at the moment. How often have fans heard Xavi say, much to their frustration, that his team did play well until a certain point and then ultimately collapsed inexplicably to a disappointing defeat, which has been humbling at times too.

Barça faltered under Xavi on many occasions despite ‘playing well’. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

Is that what the club cares about? Is that what it really needs? To ‘play well’, yet lose and let it slide? What constitutes a good performance anyway?

This excuse is a safety net Barcelona have been using for years now. The performance may have been in line with the philosophy to be entertaining and aesthetically pleasing, but the opposition got the job done. They simply couldn’t care less.

Putting the intense rivalry aside, Barcelona can certainly take a leaf out of Real Madrid’s book. Sometimes all you need to do is win.

Be it an emphatic five-star performance or a gritty 1-0 victory that made the team work for it. Both guarantee three points on the board.

This is probably the single biggest difference between the two sides at the moment. While Los Blancos are gearing up to play for their 15th Champions League title, the Blaugrana are once again stuck looking in from the outside.

For evidence, both Barcelona and Real Madrid had odds stacked against them in their biggest games of the season facing PSG and Manchester City, respectively.

While Madrid stood tall in the face of adversity and held on by the skin of their teeth to grind out a result against City, Barça simply crumbled under the tough hand that was dealt and found themselves out of contention for European glory yet again in embarrassing fashion.

Why? Barcelona, for all their obvious quality, didn’t have the know-how to win. Caught up with the objective to impose their style and ‘play well’, they lost sight of the bigger picture, to win and seal their place in the final four.

Change is needed

For far too long, this has been Barcelona’s biggest weakness. While winning games is the main goal, playing well, in the club’s style by registering dominance in possession is seen as a prerequisite.

It’s an objective that doesn’t always bode well for the club and calls for some introspection and change.

Time for a change in culture. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s one thing to keep up with ideological developments in the modern game and a totally different thing to ensure there is a winning mindset and culture prevailing at the club.

While Barcelona have been guilty of being found wanting on both fronts, the latter is a much more serious issue plaguing the Blaugrana.

Joan Laporta once boldly stated, “Losing will have consequences”.

Not the only time he has failed to put action behind his words, however, it is becoming apparent that if the team puts in at-par displays, whose bar has definitely fallen off a cliff this season, the president is happy to carry on with the dynamics.

So focused on the process, that the only consequence has been a total disregard for a result.

At Barcelona, it’s almost seen as a responsibility to play good football. As infuriating as it may be, the objective to win seems to take a backseat at times and we can all see the fragile mentality that comes with this rather unnecessary pressure.

Maybe that also explains why Barcelona’s worst nights in Europe have been a recurring theme these last few years.

Sure, the fans would love to see scintillating football played by their team in garnet and blue week in week out. But certainly not at the expense of silverware. The opportunity cost is just too high.

The importance of enforcing this tweak in the club’s culture cannot be understated. In fact, the sooner they do, much better off they shall be.

The desire to get the job done and the resolve to find a way to win at all costs is the next step in the evolution of the club. It’s a belief and a philosophy that simply transcends tactics and models of play.

Looking ahead

Thankfully, Barcelona’s new managerial appointment Hansi Flick, is a step in the right direction despite the embarrassing way the outcome came to be.

A new era. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The team will be coached by an experienced and top manager with an impressive resume at club level, a relentless passion to win, and who knows how to, especially without the most prized possession at Barcelona.

Flick is the right profile for the club to lead the evolution of the team and revolution of its mentality and misguided priorities.

It must also be taken into account that Barcelona have a young squad brimming with quality with some of the best talents in Lamine Yamal, Pedri, Gavi, Pau Cubarsi, and Alejandro Balde, a crucial part of the first-team setup.

As both present and future of the club, these players need to get a taste of that winning mentality and develop a sense of getting the job done at all costs.

It’s time for a change at Barcelona. For once, it has nothing to do with the squad-building bound by a tight budget, but an internal struggle that must call for an overhaul.

It could very well prove to be the key difference between an all-conquering Barcelona and an ailing one succumbing to the slightest of pressure as we have become accustomed to.

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