At the same time, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was happily thrown into the air by his team, the dull Barcelona players were leaving the field at the Camp Nou.
Barça had just suffered a 2-1 defeat to Osasuna of 10, for the first time on home soil since November 2018, and if that wasn’t all that bad, you had to think that the real rival Real was holding the La crown. The league that had just appreciated from his understanding.
The Catalan side has been in turmoil both on and off the pitch for some time now, so perhaps such a performance and defeat should no longer come as a surprise.
Lionel Messi, club captain and mascot, cut off a frustrated piece on the field. So much so that he raised his hand in frustration when he scored against Barcelona in the second half, rather than celebrating.
“We didn’t expect to finish in this way, but it sums up the year for us,” Messi told Spanish television after the match.
“We have been an erratic and weak team, who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm. We have lost a lot of points which we shouldn’t have done and been very inconsistent.”
“We need to be self-critical, starting with the players but also across the entire club. We are Barcelona and we are obliged to win every game.”
“The feeling on this team is that it tries, but that it cannot get the job done. Today in the first half they were better than we were and it seems we have to fall behind to react like we tried to do in the second half.”
Messi’s free kick just after the hour mark canceled Jose Arnaiz’s first goal for Osasuna, but Roberto Torres stunned the host in the fourth minute of stoppage time, rounding off a quick counterattack.
Real Madrid’s win over Villarreal meant that even a Barcelona win would not have earned the title race on the last day, but the contrasting results – especially after restarting after a forced hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic – marks a huge turn in fortunes. for the two best clubs in Spain.
This time last season, Barcelona celebrated their 26th La Liga title, while Real Madrid languished in third place, 19 points behind. In just one year, Zidane’s team closed that gap and surpassed Barcelona, undoubtedly the best team in Spain.
Quique Setien, who led Real Betis the last time Barcelona lost at the Camp Nou, was invited earlier in the year to give the club some excitement; instead, it appears that he is already struggling to keep his job.
While Real Madrid have won 10 games, Barcelona have fought for results since the restart of La Liga. But perhaps more importantly, he struggled to find a personality with Setien.
The coach has always been optimistic about his position, but admitted after Thursday’s defeat that he did not know if he would remain in charge of Barcelona’s upcoming Champions League second leg against Napoli.
“I am responsible for our situation, as I am the manager of the team,” he told reporters. “I hope to be the Barcelona coach in the Champions League, but I don’t know. I agree with Messi on some things. We have be self-critical and if we aren’t, it will cost us in anything we want to do.”
“We have tried to improve during these months that we have been here, [but] there are things that have cost us and [overshadowed the] many things that we have done well.”
“It all comes down to success, today the opponent shot three times and scored two goals, we had fifteen shots and we were not right.”
Barcelona was held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli in Naples and holds the small advantage of an away goal going into the second leg on August 8, but Messi knows the size of the task at hand.
“I said it some time ago, that playing like this we had no chance of winning the Champions League,” he said. “It turns out we didn’t even have enough to win la Liga. We need to take a breather, take some air in and clean out minds of all that has happened since December.”
“Playing like this we will lose against Napol. We have to start from zero in the Champions League and blame ourselves for what went wrong.”[1-click-image-ranker]