columna bojan

The UCL is important, but the project even more so


Barça have let LaLiga escape from their grasp, that's a fact. I've been asked: "Is it a surprise that they didn't take advantage of their lead to go on and become champions?" From my point of view, no. FC Barcelona lost the chance to win because, away from the talk about VAR and other debates, when they returned from the break the club was still in the same delicate situation it was before. This makes it much more difficult for you to achieve success. Despite having three months to disconnect, the day the team returned to training so did the cruel reality that this club was travelling across rocky waters. 

Even with that, I don't doubt that the players had - and have - the desire to win. You saw proof of that whenever they lost. And it was further confirmed by Messi and Luis Suarez's comments. Both assumed part of the responsibility but they also demanded structure and direction from other areas. From the outside, it feels like the dressing room is unprotected and that's a concern with the task ahead - as it's a significant one. In terms of potential, quality, the standard of players and the revised format then Barça could certainly win the Champions League. There's no doubt the change in format will benefit Barça as it's a more direct route to the final.

If they eliminate Napoli, they are just three matches away from being crowned European Champions and that should help Setien's men. But let's not get confused here. More than simply the desire to win the Champions League, the fans want to recover what has traditionally belonged to Barça. they want that sense of identity of a stable project. And that's why, in case they do win it, the Champions League shouldn't mask the current situation at the club. As it would be a case of eating today but going hungry tomorrow. You can't talk about stop-gap coaches or transfers that don't fit the philosophy of the club. It's about creating a long-term plan and not short-term fixes. 

Despite the disappointment of LaLiga, they have a team capable of winning the Champions League. But the message should go further than that. The structure which exists right now isn't going to make the players feel comfortable and it's important that changes. Winning Europe's biggest trophy for a sixth time is important and would be rightly celebrated, but we can't allow the shine of the trophy to distract us from a more important priority. Barça shouldn't only aspire to win the Champions League but to return to what they once were: being the envy of the football world.


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