FC Barcelona will be extremely relieved to see the back of 2020, as it was one of the darkest years in the club’s recent history.
Lionel Messi-led side went from one crisis to another as Barcelona ended 2020 without silverware. The terrible year also witnessed Blaugrana facing several issues on and off the pitch including Messi’s desire to leave his beloved club, an 8-2 humiliation against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, and an economic crisis and many other disappointments.
From Lionel Messi’s burofax to leave the club to FC Barcelona selling their star striker Luis Suarez to direct rival Atlético Madrid, here’s what went wrong for the Catalan giants in 2020.
Three coaches in one calendar year
FC Barcelona commenced 2020 with the sacking of former head coach Ernesto Valverde as the Blaugrana were knocked out by Atletico Madrid in the semifinals of Supercopa de España, and was later replaced by Quique Setien.
However, the new coach failed miserably to change the fortunes of the club as Barcelona slipped from the top spot in the La Liga under Valverde to end the 2019-20 season without any trophy.
The former Real Betis manager was replaced by Barcelona legend Ronald Koeman in the summer. The 57-year-old has endured the club’s worst start to a La Liga campaign in 17 years.
Selling Luis Suarez to direct rival Atlético Madrid
FC Barcelona sold Luis Suarez to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid for €6million "in variables".
Reportedly, there was no transfer fee directly involved from the move, but Atletico would have to pay Barcelona £1.8m every time they reach the Champions League while Suarez is at the club.
Since moving to Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014, Suarez became the club's third-highest ever goalscorer - netting a remarkable 197 times in 283 appearances.
Lionel Messi’s attempt to leave FC Barcelona
In August 2020, Messi broke the internet when he expressed his desire to leave Barcelona after the 8-2 humiliation in the Champions League. Messi, who is undoubtedly the club's best player in history, communicated his desire to Barcelona executives via Burofax.
The 33-year-old grew tired of former president Josep Maria Bartomeu's lies and, also the absence of a proper sporting project. The Argentine said in the burofax; his clause allows him to terminate the contract unilaterally, however, Bartomeu completely refused it. Later, Messi said that he did not want to sue the club and so he reluctantly stayed.
That eventually proved the end of Bartomeu's reign as Barcelona fans had made it very clear, both at the Camp Nou and on social media, that they wanted Bartomeu out.
Bartomeu resigned from the club ahead of a vote of no confidence that was due to be held after more than 20,000 fans signed a petition demanding that he stepped down. The rest of the board of directors also resigned.
No trophies in 2020
Barcelona ended a turbulent year without a trophy for the first time since the 2007/08 season. Interestingly, the Messi-led side was in pole position in La Liga when Valverde was sacked. To make things even worse, it was arch-rivals Real Madrid who eventually won the coveted title in Spain. In the UEFA Champions League, things ended in a disaster as Barcelona were humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich - a defeat which will tarnish the club for years to come.
Feature image courtesy: Manu Fernandez, Pau Barrena / AFP