The years of Barcelona’s dominance seem to be a distant memory, not only in Europe, but in Spain as well.
In the past week Barcelona have been knocked out the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, lost ground in the title race at Granada on Saturday and if Barca fail to turn up tomorrow in the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid, it could well be a trophy-less season for the Catalan club.
So why are Barcelona in such a decline?
By Cameron Kennedy – @LiveF0rever_
1. An Ageing Squad
The squad seems to be past their peak.
Xavi isn’t far away from retirement and the likes of Dani Alves, Victor Valdes and Javier Mascherano are all coming into their thirties.
Of course the big change is Puyol’s retirement, and Barcelona will not only be losing a great defender, but their leader.
2. The Transfer Embargo
A major problem for Barca will be the recent transfer embargo which was handed down to the club.
It’s understood this ban on signing players came due to issues regarding the transfer of Neymar.
With Barca’s squad only getting older and several players linked with the exit door, they will not be allowed to replace anyone until January 2016.
This could continue to hinder Barcelona’s chances of winning trophies, creating a bigger gap between the club and their rivals.
3. Failed Youngsters
Barcelona have always produced great players like Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Valdes, Puyol and the list goes on.
But in recent years the youth system seems to have failed.
Players like Bojan, Tello and Dos Santos haven’t hit the dizzying heights of their predecessors, which is a big worry with the transfer ban in place.
Barca will have to rely more than ever on these under-performing youngsters.
4. Pass It To Messi
In previous years Barcelona had David Villa, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry supplying goals, but in the last couple of seasons Barcelona seem to have relied solely on Messi to get them out of trouble.
When he was injured Barcelona struggled and looked a shell of their former selves.
Neymar was clearly brought in to shoulder this responsibility but thus far hasn’t met expectations
5. No More Pep
It’s obvious Barcelona miss their former manager Guardiola and with Pep now seeking world domination with Bayern Munich, it doesn’t exactly help their situation.
The Barca fans haven’t taken too kindly to current manager Gerardo Martino, who they blame for their poor run of results.
If they don’t win a trophy and Bayern win the treble with Pep, expect a backlash from the fans.