Barcelona have struggled on the field of play this season, far from their usual standards. The Catalans sit fourth in La Liga, two points behind Sevilla, three behind Real Madrid and eleven off league leaders Atletico Madrid. Far from their usual, lithe selves, Barcelona look like a dulled knife, continually hampered by their own inconsistency and seemingly unable to challenge for titles.
Off the pitch things are even worse, as The New York Times have detailed. The Blaugrana, they explain, are a victim of their own success. The phenomenal feats they experienced in Europe between 2009 and 2015, when they won three Champions League titles, has created a squad with massive wages, none more so than Lionel Messi, an undisputed genius but a man with an eye-watering salary.
Thrown into the mix is institutional instability, with a managing comittee currently in charge of the club while they await a presidential election on 7 March. Barcelona will continue to fight for what they can this season, with the Copa del Rey, the Champions League and La Liga still technically in play, but big decisions lie on the horizon, none more so than Messi’s future given his contract expires this coming summer.