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Barca President sends message of confidence, but dark clouds amass over Camp Nou

English.news.cn   2014-03-10 19:25:52

MADRID, Mar. 10 (Xinhua) -- While Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are no doubt enjoying the spring sunshine which has suddenly burst on the scene after one of the wettest winters on record in Spain, it is fair to say that the dark clouds have still to disperse over the Camp Nou Stadium.

FC Barcelona's 1-0 defeat to Valladolid on Saturday saw the Catalan club hit a nadir under the short reign of Gerardo 'Tata' Martino and produce what is probably their worst performance in the past five years.

Xavi Hernandez may have complained at halftime that the pitch in Valladolid's Nuevo Zorilla Stadium was too bumpy for Barca's passing game, but that was missing the point.

Barca have hardly played their passing game over recent weeks, but in the past moments of individual magic have saved them, rather like a desert island saves a man cast adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Messi has scored goals, so has Pedro, but Barca have not played well. Xavi looks off the pace, while Sergio Busquets, so often the metronome who ticks away in front of the defense, moving the ball accurately and rapidly, is way below his best.

Meanwhile it' s probably best not to talk about Dani Alves, who on Saturday produced one of his worst ever displays for the club. A display which will only fuel rumors of his departure of the summer.

Barca's weekend defeat, coupled with Real Madrid's win at home to Levante means that even if Barca win in the Santiago Bernabeu in a fortnight: (something which looks unlikely given current form), they would still need Real Madrid to drop points elsewhere.

Trying to give a moral boost to the fans ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie at home to Manchester City, Barca President Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted the league situation was: "complicated."

However, in a message posted on 'Twitter,' he insisted that "this group has already shown it can overcome difficult moments, both on and off the pitch and we have confidence in them to the end."

Barca defend a 2-0 lead against Manchester City, who themselves are in trouble after losing at home to second division Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup on Sunday and the Catalans should be able to at least defend that advantage.

If they qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League that should paper over the cracks, at least until the weekend league game at home to Osasuna and the subsequent trip to face Real Madrid.

Meanwhile Bartomeu's position is also under pressure, after he replaced Sandro Rosell in January after Rosell was forced to resign over fraud allegations related to the arrival of Neymar last summer.

His close ties to Rosell mean he is questioned by many fans and there are calls for new elections at the club in the summer, which could mean a new president.

All of this merely serves to increase doubts over Martino's future and some papers have already begun to speculate with names over who could take over at the Camp Nou, while at the same time drawing up lists of possible signings and departures. We already know that Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol, two Barca strongmen, will abandon the club in the summer, Alves could also leave and there is a slight doubt over Xavi.

All of which means that unless Barca act quickly, but also with care and discretion, the next year or two could be very difficult indeed and if they should lose to Manchester City, the next week won't be much fun either.

Editor: Tang Danlu
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