I have been very critical with Barça this season, as I ha considered that the club has suffered a very poor management four several years that was being reflected on the field up to one month ago. I keep my thoughts on what I have written in the past, but I am also the first one to recognize it when something changes for better, when there is an improvement for a specific period of time, and that is Barça´s case. Perfect month of January in LaLiga (5/5 wins) with the only defeat at the Spanish Super Cup and an incredible comeback against Granada in the Spanish Cup that showed a team with character that we had not seen for multiple years. It is clear that something has changed.
The context for everything negative that has happened to Barça comes from 2017 when Neymar left and the Board of Directors wasted too much money trying to sign players that they paid for more than what they are worth. That was the first of many mistakes that have taken us to what they wanted to call “a transition year”. Messi exploded and Suárez was given away to Atlético in order to pay a direct´s rival goals. They saved Messi´s match-ball until he announces his decision, but at least the maximum responsible and his partners are OUT. Fortunately for the club Bartomeu is not the President anymore and now the elections to choose a new one will be crucial to fix a club´s economy that, if it was a normal company´s one, would be bankrupt.
In the middle of all this chaos, Koeman´s addition, who always says everything he thinks, which is great, brought a lot of doubts in the first months because of his tactical decision. He changed the ‘made in Barça’ 4-3-3 system for a 4-2-3-1 that has not worked out. Messi was dragging the burofax´s aftermath, Griezmann did not even touch the ball and Barça gave away points every weekend due to huge mistakes on defense. Nothing was good at all.
However, Barça have really improved against all odds. Too late for LaLiga, but still in time for the Spanish Cup and who knows for the Champions League. The Dutch coach has returned to te start and now De Jong and Pedri play in the middle along with Busquets . Dembélé has played for 10 straight games without getting injured, an unpublished achievement until the date, and suddenly Griezmann has begun to score goals. Messi has always been the best, even if they leak his contract and distort the reality: he deserves to be paid what he asks for because the value that generates both on the pitch and the revenue he gives Barça duplicate his salary. “He is worth it”, as they headlined at the Diario Olé.
Koeman has the players´confidence and the team was able to complete a huge comeback against Granada thanks to a character that had not been seen for too long. Now they are in the semifinals of a competition that they have many possibilities to win. The Dutch coach has made decisions, good or bad ones, but he has been a coach, and he defends the club he represents at the press conference. His predecessors fell asleep in the bench or were unable to gather their own players during the water break. Koeman beats them all by much if we talk about character.
Barça have not won anything and they might not, but they have changed a very poor image in a very complicated season. They have become attractive to watch again and have passed Real Madrid, who are now the ones to go through the outcomes and bad feelings that Barça experimented at first. There is not a new President yet, we do not know if Messi will stay, neither Koeman, and the titles (Cup and Champions) have to be decided, but something has changed at Barça and I had to say it.