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Sep 24, 2019


Ernesto Valverde, has been a disaster for Barcelona so far. The back to back titles doesn't hide the fact that he is destroying what used to be Barcelona's playing style slowly but surely!



Will Barcelona's Footballing Identity Survive the Valverde Era? Or will it be History!

The Legend, Johan Cruyff would be turning in his grave seeing what has happened to his beloved club. The possession football, the Total football he instilled in the team with the 'La Masia' youth academy and the Golden Generation of the Club is nowhere to be seen. Valverde's team plays a style which is unrecognizable for many of the fans and most of the legendary players.


Barcelona's identity was based on the 'Total Football'. That's what the kids are drilled down from the moment they step into the academy. That's what we look in for players when we splash huge sum at them. Unfortunately, Valverde is chipping away every trace of that identity from this team. His mission of turning Barcelona into an average La Liga side is very much in progress.




For a club like Barcelona, everything is based on that identity. Without that the soul of the footballing team is taken away from it. It was how we played football ever. There were doubts cast on that identity occasionally by intermittent failures. But even in those times, that philosophy remained intact as it was the 'Spirit of the Team'.


'Tiki-Taka' - Will Barcelona ever Regain it's Identity?


There was a time not so long in distant past, two words that resonated everywhere in the club - 'Tiki-Taka'. What happened to it now? It's nowhere to be seen. The team which could hold on to possession for as long as they want, cannot even make a couple of passes before getting intercepted nowadays. The team which was known to press the life out of opposition is now getting the taste of their own medicine.


In the glory days of Guardiola's Golden Team, many people got carried away with the concept of 'tiki-taka'. Actually, they misread what kind of strategy 'tiki-taka' technically was. We associate the style with the way Barcelona attack the opposition. That's where the entire philosophy was misunderstood!


'Tiki-Taka', ideally was the way we defended! Yes, it may sound strange but it was, in the end, a very defensive style. One could say, that it was how one team can defend so beautifully. Guardiola once clarified that the only way he knows how to defend is not to give the ball to opponents. And that's the essence of Possession football.


Holding on to possession helped us to put the Opponent in the back foot all the time, and that put enormous pressure on them. The opposition literally couldn't get out of their half. That was the beauty of 'Tiki-Taka'. It was a brilliant balance between offensive and defensive football.


The move away from Possession Football


The lose of Barcelona's identity didn't start with Valverde. It started with Luis Enrique. After repeated failures after Guardiola's exit, there were questions raised about the style itself. Some fans were asking for more direct football. It was successful in the first attempt after Enrique guided the team to a treble.


But that also didn't come without any crisis. The treble was more or less due to one man - Lionel Messi, who was given a dressing down by Xavi on the phone. People tend to forget that and immediately focus on the good part. So there was more emphasis on direct football.


But all of them forgot how we defended. Moving into direct football took away the control from midfield. Once the control was lost, since naturally, our players push forward, there was enough space for the opposition to exploit. On the counter, we never appear in shape.


Now with Valverde in charge, the crisis has reached a tipping point. There is complacency everywhere in the club. The Board's decision not to fire him has seen as an invitation to encourage incompetency. The new players who came with high hopes look totally confused! By the time he leaves, we may have forgotten completely how to play 'Tiki-Taka'!

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