FC Barcelona – La Liga Hugo Cerezo gives his opinion
The fatigue, at first glance, is unprecedented, something never seen before. From December 28 against Eibar until March 16 against Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona will have played 13 games – five of which have gone to extra time, which is almost two games more (150 minutes). Rounding up, that is a match every three days for 49 days, an outrage given that only two are at the Camp Nou. The petrol finally ran out at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, where Barcelona were no longer able to keep up the pace they had set thus far in 2021. As Koeman said: “We are killing the players.”
Because beyond the calendar, which has been a marathon for Barcelona, injuries have taken their toll on an already small squad. The squad for the Sevilla game was missing Sergino Dest, Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Miralem Pjanic, Sergi Roberto, Philippe Coutinho, Ansu Fati and Martin Braithwaite. Similar to Real Madrid, yes, but with four more games (and that 150 minutes added on). The legs of Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Antoine Griezmann, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets are almost running on empty, as Ronald Koeman has hardly been able to rotate and neither does he have a bench of reliable alternatives. There are only 10-12 players who have Koeman‘s confidence. It was seen in Vallecas, it was seen in Granada, and again in Seville. And when Lionel Messi can rest, he has to come on in the 55th minute to save the day, with Barcelona losing 1-0 at the Estadio Benito Villamarin. This was coming.
One wonders if this interim Barcelona, who are not sure if they are going anywhere, without a president and without a euro in the coffers, with Messi able to leave for free, in the middle of reconstruction after so many earthquakes that there are cracks all over the place, can ask for anything more. Above all from Koeman, who is one of the few bits of good news from this season, because he has personality, he has a backbone and he is starting to have a future, so much so that his continuity is beginning to take shape.
The 2-0 loss against Sevilla is a slap in the face of reality, because the Blaugrana have been on the back foot for many games and against opponents who are not Champions League teams, as Julen Lopetegui’s side are. But this is what Barcelona have come to: losing a Supercopa de Espana final, having one foot out of the Copa del Rey, finding themselves eight points behind Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand, and being huge underdogs ahead of their Champions League last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain.
Now, living on the edge of the abyss, Barcelona will give all that they have… because they know that they are not in a position to demand much more than what they have been doing this year, and not this season.