From this point of view, January will be an absolutely colossal month for Barcelona: Your big player can suddenly join a rival club for free and can say goodbye to three trophies (Super Bowl, Copa and League) at the beginning of February. And don’t forget there are presidential elections at Camp Nou.
For those who are not from Catalonia, political battles, filth and votes are the least likely to get your pulse racing. Lionel Messi decides to join the Parisian Saint-Germain? Or Manchester City? And are you using your contractual freedom to commit yourself to them? Absolute Dynamite is responsible for one billion news clicks worldwide.
Did Barcelona fail in the cup match? Or to lose points in their banana season with three league games in a row (against Athletic, new coach Marcelino, Elche and Granada) because they are already 13 points from the top of the table?
Sexy news for anyone tired of being dominated by the Blaugranas in the last ten years. It would also be explosive for Barca fans, who fear it will be worse than it is. It’s only fair. I don’t expect many of you to take a ridiculous look at the garden fence and demand that your neighbour do this: Have you heard what Jordi Farrah (the presidential candidate whose campaign has blown up the last panel) said about Victor’s five-point plan (the candidate whose campaign seems the most convincing) to rebuild Barcelona’s economy?
That’s why the team of Ronald Koeman and the titlehunters of Atletico Madrid had the generosity this weekend to show everyone in a brutal way what’s at stake in their meeting on 24. January in Camp Nou is coming to the presidential election. Wiz: Don’t pick another asshole.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Lionel Messi can play from 1 January to visit any competing club outside Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images
Did you see Barcelona win in Huesca or Atleti to stay two games ahead of Real Madrid, their closest rivals, at the top? If you’re not worried. Here’s a practical summary.
Barcelona was great for about 60 minutes. Then they left confused, stunned and frankly ashamed, because at the end they urgently asked for a game master: How many are left? That’s exactly what teams like Huesca have to do if they want to compete against giants like Barcelona. More on that in a minute.
Atleti leaders Alaves, who have already beaten Barcelona and Real Madrid in about 75 minutes this season, were defeated by an own goal in the 84th minute. He sabotaged the game in the 57th minute before stepping on the gas, ignited the afterburner and reacted like the eventual champion by offering the sweet honey pot with the winning goal in the last minute. It is this ruthless cruelty that Barcelona no longer possesses. These two matches have revealed a number of points relating to the presidential elections in Barcelona.
First, Koeman’s team. Initially it looked like they could score against a team with only one win of the season and a record 14 goals in 17 league games, but Barca crossed the finish line. By throwing four of his last six points, Koeman got the footballing version of an egg.
Instead of showing absolute determination to exclude Huesca, increase his lead over the goal and secure all three points, Koeman waited nine minutes to replace Antoine Griezmann in search of a killer – and bizarre – goal. Instead of dangerous and creative players like Conrad de la Fuente, Francisco Trincao and Ricky Puig, Koeman opted for defensive support and called in defender Oscar Minges.
In the end the mighty Barca won and the girls from Huesca didn’t really enjoy the draw they are now beginning to threaten. They were the best team ten years ago, they won three times five years ago and have the potential for their eleventh consecutive victory. A championship title in 15 years, just like last summer.
About 300 kilometres to the north Atleti played the day before with determination, authority, assertiveness and arrived with exactly that late cheek that had been lacking in Barcelona for some time. When Felipe fired a spectacular goal of his own in the top corner, with goalkeeper Jan Oblak barely missing, it looked like it was going to be a very special weekend for Real Madrid – again. They swallow points, their opponents stagger. You know the scenario. Instead, Luis Suarez, who had already scored the first goal of Atleti against Marcos Llorente, offered one of his iconic strikes until the Uruguayan said so!
Fault! The file name is not specified. Game
Julien Lawrence explains how Atletico Madrid proved their title by defeating Alaves.
The man whose fingerprint is present in these two brutal comparisons, but whose name is not mentioned in Spanish football all weekend, is former president Josep Maria Bartomeu of Barcelona. I’d call him an outgoing president, but he’s already screwed.
At the age of 57, he returned to the Nou Power camp in 2010 (after leaving the club in 2005) as the second president of Sandro Rosell. President Rosell himself made a kind of nocturnal flirtation in 2015, and Bartomeu succeeded him. During their ten-year reign, the club went from the pinnacle of all football standards to ruin. Well done, guys.
They even did it with one of the biggest football Bibles of all time, installed at Camp Nou (by Johan Cruyff):
- Freezing Pep Guardiola’s loyalty;
- Ridiculing (and scrutinizing) the club for what Neymar’s signature was really worth;
- A public promise to Eric Abidal about his status as and when he recovers from cancer;
- Booth is accused of paying the company to discredit its current employees on social media;
- Be surprised if Neymar goes to PSG for 222 million euros;
- The goal is to break the club’s record in European football;
- Leaving Barcelona’s greatest footballer, perhaps the greatest in the history of football, who desperately left the club a few months ago and who, just a few days ago, claimed to have been lied to repeatedly by President Bartomeu.
Bartomeu had his fingerprints on everything that happened this weekend, because his leadership has left Barcelona in a terrible state, both institutionally and in football, where we play football with one ball, defending our top level football against the worst team in La Liga. But also because it was he who decided, without any football credibility to support his selfish whim, that the door to Suarez in the summer should be shown – no arguing, no remorse, no planning for the future.
Suarez, the current top scorer in La Liga, helped Atleti out of the bear trap on Saturday. When he regains his form after his recent isolation at COVID, he threatens to be the extra element that will make Atleti the champion for the third time in 44 years.
In case you didn’t do the math, his nine league goals this season, after only 843 minutes on the field, came to an average of one goal per game. Best in the league; best on the scoreboard. A first-rate note.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Game
According to Julien Lawrence, Luis Suarez has had more success than expected in Atletico Madrid.
In a recent television interview with Messi, he expressed his disbelief and dissatisfaction, not only about the fact that Suarez (who, given the quality of the opportunities Koeman’s men create and waste, if he were allowed to leave in the last year of his contract, would at least also be in Barcelona) was mistreated, but especially about the fact that he was allowed to move on to a direct competitor.
It is possible, even if fate intervenes, that Suarez Atleti will help defeat the Blaugranas in the Supercopa final (January 17) at the time of the inauguration of the new President in Barcelona (January 24) and be ready to eliminate his former colleagues of the Copa del Rey if the teams are pulled in the round of 16 (January 27). Wouldn’t that be an incredible irony?
The point of all this is that nothing (apart from the fact that FC Barcelona did not qualify for the Champions League and lost a fortune, while its finances are in a brutal state) could be more important for this club in full swing this season than the presidential elections, which will take place in two weeks. Don’t miss a chance to win the competition. Don’t get eliminated from two cuts in January. Even Messi has yet to decide whether to move to Manchester City or PSG in June.
FC Barcelona have lost their football orientation, have lost their shine, have long since passed the best days of their biggest player, sit in a financial swamp, no longer have an excellent training center, sit in the middle of a ridiculous and potentially ruinous real estate project on the site of the stadium and, frankly, do not look like they will be competitive in the Champions League or the first division in the near future.
In these disastrous circumstances, Barcelona society will reward the promotion of the claims of the various candidates (not all of whom will arrive on election day).
The media, either because they are smart, or because they are seduced by a former favorite rider, begin to claim that Joan Laporta (although she literally lacks one of the satellite elements that have made her reign 2003-2010 an important and successful period) : Johan Cruyff, Thiki Begiristein, Ferran Soriano, Marc Ingla, Ronaldinho, Frank Rijkaard, Guardiola) will win in Kanter.
Personally, the team, the ideas and structure proposed by Victor Font, ultra-Cruyff and Xavi fan, seem much more credible to me. But I’m not a sociologist, just a good judge.
In any case, the fact is that if the bulk of the attention and the vast majority of the sports pages and broadcasting time devoted to Barcelona in January is devoted to the affairs of Messi, to matters with messy events on the ground and to the disasters or triumphs of the Cup, the question will be simple: how many voters will pay attention to and vote on the 24th? January will be the right time to make this choice, which this month will be absolutely crucial for the Catalan club.
The adage Be careful what you wish for is popular, but in this case, socios, the right warning: Be careful who you vote for. Your club is in danger.