Is Barça UCL’s New Ugly Duckling?

April 23, 2013 8:46 am

barcaFC Barcelona accumulates years of triumphs (especially these past few years), but is it possible that this season is falling through?

The truth is they have had too many setbacks. They were knocked out of Spanish Copa del Rey by archenemy club Real Madrid, and when it comes to Champions League, they have been constantly struggling. They needed an epic turnaround against Milan, and PSG gave them a hard time.

Now they have finally reached the (well-deserved) semifinals, where they have to confront Bayern Munich, a team whose previous stages of the competition have been a bed of roses.

The main problem for Barça this season has been the state of mind of the players. After the sad departure of the beloved Pep Guardiola, the team was handed to Pep’s assistant manager, Tito Vilanova. Luckily, everybody already knew and respected him. Nevertheless, he unfortunately relapsed into cancer last December, and his treatment kept him away until three weeks ago. This uncertainty about Tito’s health has taken its toll on the team. And on top of that, Abidal’s recovery, countless injuries, Victor Valdés announcing his not-renewal…

barcelonaAnd the thing is, although they are absolute leaders in la Liga and they are about to win it (next week or the following one), this sad mood has taken the Copa del Rey away from them, and who knows if the same thing will happen with the Champions League too.

Today, Barcelona is playing the first leg against a strong, confident Bayern, a team with hopes of crushing the Catalonians. The Spaniards arrive in Munich with a slightly injured Messi and a scarce defence with no Puyol in it, leaving Piqué as the only rock that can hold the fort. They might withstand that way. And win, even if it is against Robben, Ribéry, Müller or Neuer.

Then again, Barça has Messi.

And Xavi.

And Iniesta.

And Villa.

And Pedro.

And so on.

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