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FC Barcelona: Joan Laporta from glory to disappointment and back again at FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona is in turmoil under Laporta. Bold signing faltered, Xavi left. Fan unity important. Challenges remain in rebuilding the squad.

FC Barcelona Joan Laporta
Laporta finds himself tasked with leading FC Barcelona through turbulent waters, a completely different era to the one he began a decade ago (Source: FC Barcelona)

Laporta’s calculations

In a twist of fate, Joan Laporta finds himself tasked with leading FC Barcelona through turbulent waters, a completely different era to the one he began a decade ago. In 2003, Laporta took charge of Barcelona and, with a bold approach, transformed the club into European champions within three years, thanks to Ronaldinho.

Heading into 2020, Laporta appointed club legend Xavi as coach and returned using a similar playbook to reclaim La Liga glory. But, with the giants performing poorly domestically and struggling in Europe in the current season, Xavi has announced his departure from Barcelona at the end of the season.

Call for unity as FC Barcelona struggle

Laporta, known for his optimistic outlook, faces challenges but has urged unity between fans and players. Despite a poor season, he has expressed confidence in turning things around by the end of the season, stressing the important role of fan support.

The president’s transfer strategy, reminiscent of his first term, has seen the signings of big-name players like Ferran Torres, Raphinha, Jules Kounde and Robert Lewandowski total more than $200 million, and they have not lived up to expectations. Free signings and loans including Joao Felix, Franck Kessie, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been largely disappointing.

Critics criticize Laporta’s ambition

Critics argue that Laporta’s constant pursuit of ambitious goals has left Xavi with an aging and underperforming team. By selling the club’s assets, the club failed to address significant squad gaps, notably the replacement of the departing Sergio Busquets.

The biggest point of contention is Laporta’s decision to leave Lionel Messi in 2021. His rival, Victor Font, called it “the biggest mistake” in contemporary club history, suggesting that Messi could have been part of the solution to Barcelona’s problems.

Despite the challenges, Laporta remains determined and has vowed not to fire Xavi before the end of the season. The president’s unwavering commitment to his vision and ambitious strategy calls into question its position as a club in Barcelona’s current predicament.

Barcelona’s important victory

In the recent match against Celta Vigo, Barcelona secured a vital 2–1 win with Robert Lewandowski converting a penalty in stoppage time. The win eases some pressure on the club ahead of the Champions League playoff against Napoli. Xavi, despite announcing his departure, has still managed to lead the team to 12 points with 10 wins.

Barcelona’s focus now turns to the Champions League, where they will face Napoli in the round of 16. After two consecutive exits in the group stage, the five-time European champions are determined to make their mark in the knockout rounds.

While the domestic campaign has been disappointing, Barcelona are just seven points behind league leaders Real Madrid. Xavi’s departure adds an extra layer of uncertainty to the team’s future, but they are focused on finishing the season strongly.

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Despite adverse circumstances, Barcelona’s ups and downs journey continues. Laporta’s ambitious ideas collide with the practicalities of rebuilding a team, and Xavi will face challenges considering the Champions League and a change in coaching leadership. The journey ahead looks set to be full of more ups and downs for this great club that once dominated football.

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