How many is it now? Barcelona, without the need to play, clinched their fourth league title in five seasons. Yes, the streets in Catalonia were alive with the sound of music, but there seems to be a sense of slight disappointment, just like last year. When you’re Lionel Messi, nothing less than spectacular, every match, every season, is expected of you. Same goes for Barcelona, who always seem like they’ve disappointed someone when they don’t win all the possible titles.
Barcelona have lost only twice in the La Liga this season (34 matches so far), scoring 105 goals. They have a chance to finish with 100 points this season, and yet there’s that cloud of disappointment. Because Barcelona haven’t turned into the trendy club in the world just by winning league titles. They did while combining style, which has gotten to be a little tiresome over the last couple of years, presenting the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, who isn’t about to slow down anytime soon, and winning the Champions League.
And that’s where that disappointing feeling comes from. Last season it was Chelsea that stood in Barcelona’s way, and eventually Bayern’s way as well. The general feeling is that Barcelona and the neutral fans were robbed by a team that had nothing to give in terms of football and simply got lucky. This season, all was to be corrected. But while Barcelona kept relying on the blaze of glory Messi leaves behind him on every pitch, Bayern Munich advanced in a way no one imagined until the knockout stages began.
And then came the 7-0 semifinal, maybe some sort of payback on the way Barcelona manhandles Bayern Munich, with some of the same players, four years earlier. There was no talk of luck or being robbed. Barcelona, playing without Lionel Messi in the second match, looked like a team of children in a match for men. The conception of the tici-taca fell apart in 7 days, and all the talk of an end of an era, which people love to ignite, began and took over.
Messi is going to finish the season, more likely than not, setting a new record for La Liga goals, unless he sits out the rest of the matches. He’s at 46 at the moment, four left for him to break the record. With no other, bigger match and goal to rest him for, why not give him the chance to set a record before shutting him down for good?
Barcelona have won so much, and in a way that hasn’t been done in a very long time, that it’s impossible not to feel like they’ve failed when they don’t live up to the standards they’ve accustomed Europe to over the last five seasons. But staying on top is probably even harder than getting there, and Barcelona, through the changes on the sidelines while dealing with motivation problems as well (no one wants to win everything all the time) while the threat from Real Madrid keeps on pestering and eating away at their dominance, have been on top, more or less, for five straight seasons.
It’s impossible to satisfy those who want everything, and it’s almost impossible to win everything each year. Barcelona did it in 2009, Bayern might do it this season, although Dortmund are more than a worthy match. Lionel Messi had an un-human like 2012 year to compete with, and he’s been doing quite well. Impossible expectations can’t be met, but it doesn’t mean Barcelona didn’t have a successful season.