With the recent Neymar-gate and subsequent departure of President Sandro Rossell at Barcelona, the club would be happy to focus back to on-field matters. Sitting top of the La Liga table, it would read that their season is going well. However, before the Rossell resignation took over the headlines, the debate was all about whether Barca were starting to abandon their ‘Tiki Taka’ roots. Don’t expect it to be long before the analysis starts again.
Since arriving as the clubs new Manager last summer, Argentinian Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has had the side at the top of the Spanish standings since week one. Nobody could argue that it’s good going, even with the likes of Messi, Iniesta and Neymar to pick from. However, at a club like Barcelona, it’s never just about winning. The club has been coached and developed into a possession based game – seen at its best during the middle of Pep Guardiolas days in charge. It’s not that Barca now play route one Football, Change to a target man and don’t keep possession well. There have been definite movements away from the ethos the club bought into however. If you watch a Barcelona game now, there are far more diagonal long passes, long goal kicks from Victor Valdes and individuality. Of course, with the likes of Leo Messi especially there always has been and to be individuality. However, those brilliant triangles of two touch football and movement are far more of a rarity. The form of arguably the best passer in the world Xavi has been slightly patchy for the first time in years and his mate Andres Iniesta – even when not persisted by small injuries – has not found his best level under Martino.
Many people will say that the local press and those who are unhappy with Barcelona’s not so eye-pleasing style, need to accept the team is still having a good season results wise. That can’t be denied, but if a club like Barca has spent all its time developing and wanting to play in a certain way, then should it not be a worry that they could gradually abandon it?
There is still a long part of the campaign to go however, and despite the Champions League having a brilliant Bayern and ever improving Real Madrid and Manchester City, Barca could still conceivably win it. Add that to the chance of another La Liga title ahead of Real and Atletico, then nobody can’t give credit for that achievement. It wouldn’t be long before the Local press questioned Martino again though, so don’t be surprised if he got fed up and considered departing in the summer or a change was made. In fact, back in December Spanish-Based journalist Graham Hunter had said he believed the now ex-president Rossell was keen on Brazil boss Phil Scolari after the summer’s World Cup. So Interesting times at the Camp Nou, with different possibilities both trophy and then management wise.