Barcelona FC is one of the most successful soccer teams in Spain and Europe, with an illustrious history spanning more than a century. But in recent years, they have failed to meet expectations when it comes to their performance in European tournaments.
The last time the Catalan club won the Champions League was in 2015 since then they have suffered painful eliminations in the tournament.
Whether it’s Champions League or Europa League, Barcelona has consistently disappointed fans on both fronts—and nobody can seem to figure out why!
Here, we’ll take a deep dive into all the reasons behind Barcelona’s struggles so that you can get some insight into why this once-mighty team isn’t who we thought they were anymore.
So buckle up, soccer fans – let’s take a look at what could be causing Barcelona FC’s decline in European tournaments!
Reliance on short-term fixes
One of the main reasons for Barcelona FC’s recent struggles in European tournaments has been their reliance on short-term fixes.
The club’s management has made several questionable decisions in the transfer market and has been spending extravagantly on player salaries.
These decisions have left the club in a precarious financial situation, with a debt of €1.3 billion last year. As a result, Barcelona has been forced to take out loans to ease the financial burden.
They were also one of the football clubs with the most debt.
This short-term thinking has also affected the team’s performance on the field, as they have failed to advance from the knockout stages of the Champions League for the second season in a row.
For Barcelona to regain their dominance in European football, they’ll need to adopt a more long-term approach and make smarter decisions in the transfer market.
Lack of reinforcements in key areas
One of the main reasons for Barcelona’s lack of success their lack of reinforcements and squad depth in key areas of their team
Although FC Barcelona were one of the winners in the 2022 summer transfer window, after they managed to sign players like Jules Koundé, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessié, Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Héctor Bellerín, and Pablo Torre, they didn’t fortify some key departments.
They failed to buy backup players at right-back, left centre-back, centre-forward, and left-wing positions.
The club also let go of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Memphis Depay, Martin Braithwaite, Sergiño Dest, Clément Lenglet, and Riqui Puig.
Hence, whenever they suffered an injury crisis they had no decent backup plays and then capitulated in European competitions.
Poor management by former President Josep Maria Bartomeu
Another reason for Barcelona’s struggles is the poor management by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu. During his tenure, he failed to adequately address the team’s weaknesses or bring in quality reinforcements when needed.
This was particularly true when it came to transfers, where Bartomeu made rash decisions that backfired spectacularly at times.
As a result, there was a lack of continuity and stability within the club, which impeded its growth and development.
He offered long contracts and huge salaries to players, making Barcelona one of the football clubs with the highest wage bills.
However, with an improved board led by Joan Laporta and an ever-evolving coaching staff determined to become champions once again, it may not be too long until we see this legendary club at the top of European football again!
The Departure of Messi Has Had An Impact
The departure of Lionel Messi from the club after 20 years had an undeniable effect on Barcelona’s performance over the past two years.
His presence was not only felt on the field but also off it; his leadership helped keep morale high, as well as making sure everyone was on task with whatever goals they set out to achieve collectively or individually.
Without him, there was a void that could not be filled by any other player or coach; Messi had become synonymous with Barca itself!
Change of coaches and variations in playing style
Lastly, changes in coaching staff from Ernesto Valverde to Ronald Koeman to Xavi Hernandez led to some difficulties with maintaining consistency on the pitch for Barcelona FC.
Each of the coaches had different playing styles and in most cases the players struggled to adapt to them.
Placed in difficult groups and draws
To be fair, one of the reasons why FC Barcelona have not performed well in the Champions League and in the Europa League is because they have been placed in difficult groups and handed difficult draws.
In the 2021/22 UCL season, Bayern Munich, Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv were in their group.
While in the 2022/23 UCL season, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, and Viktoria Plzeň were placed in the same group as them.
Even when they finished third and entered the Europa League, they were handed Manchester United in their first knockout game.
If you’re feeling optimistic about Barcelona’s chances, why not check out the latest Champions League odds? With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, Barcelona might just surprise us all and prove the naysayers wrong. So let’s keep our fingers crossed and see what the future holds for this legendary football club.