What now? That's how the Catalans are, wondering what they have to do the month that is left of competition. After the catastrophe in Rome, what remains is no longer the same. It is impossible to hide that the blow in the Olympic of the capital of Italy was one of those that are remembered. The season now is minimized .
Barcelona has not spoiled its season until Tuesday excellent ] but it has stained . And a lot. For when it falls (in quarters), for whom it falls (Roma, a very inferior team) and how it falls (3-0, thrashed, starting with a 4-1 in favor of the first leg). The disaster is not only the elimination for the third year in the quarters, but the way it happens.
The team of Ernesto Valverde now has a month ahead of him in which he will only have a match with real emotion the Cup final and seven other League games from which few conclusions can be drawn. What best indicates that the season has ended is the mood culé : the Cup does not excite (maybe of so much winning, since they have three titles in a row) and the League is already held, because for a long time He knows he is going to win. This Saturday (4:15 pm), the Catalans could take another step to close it. They receive Valencia .
1. The Thirteenth
Football has steps that are known to everyone. Of the three competitions held each season the most important one is the European Cup . And with difference over the rest, for something logical: it is the one that hosts the best teams in the continent and, therefore, the world, since European football is the most powerful. Afterwards, the League would come in importance and below the Cup.
And the season azulgrana will end up being worse if Real Madrid wins the Champions League . This is the rivalry and football. And the opposite happened when it was the Catalans who won and the Whites those who were at the mercy of their eternal rival. The successes of one and especially in the Champions League, the tournament that practically monopolizes the season, leave the other played . If Real Madrid wins the European Cup for the third year in a row will leave the good season of Barça in normal . If he finally stays in the semifinals, or even loses the final, the culé course will not be so bad.
The team of Valverde is left to pray and cross his fingers so that Madrid does not win the Thirteenth . Even so, his catastrophe in Rome will be there, it will be impossible to change no matter how bad it is going to Madrid. It is no longer that there is no Triplete, which is normal, but that in the competition that best judges a big team the Catalans fell down in an embarrassing way . And that weighs bill.
Now, how does Barcelona manage this last month in which it hardly has anything already in play? The fear is that players begin to abandon competitive tension, as has happened on other occasions in this and another club, taking into account that there are just two months to start the World Cup, the great date of football in 2018.
2. A slump in the league
Barcelona, now, has seven league games that have to face with the greatest professionalism but with the knowledge that the duties are already done . The news, from now on, is not that the League wins, that you already know, but that you lose it. The debacle in Champions could give rise to that they suffer some setback in League, but the tranquilizing rent that they take to Athletic and Madrid (11 and 14 points respectively, with 21 in game) does not invite that lose the League . Barça, until the end of the season, will face, and in this order, against Valencia (this Sunday), Celta (in Balaídos), Deportivo (Riazor), Real Madrid, Villarreal, Levante (Ciutat de Valencia) and Real Sociedad.
Maybe the opportunity of to get the title against Madrid may be left, something that would give the Catalans a greater joy than simply winning the League. Winning the tournament is not the same as winning it with a victory against the whites. With the confirmation by Zidane that Real Madrid, in the event that Barça was already a champion, will not make corridor to Barcelona the Catalan team would only be left to mitigate this win the tournament on May 6 against Madrid which four or five days before will have played the Champions League match against Bayern, so if you have closed your pass to the final will come with that vitola to the Camp Nou. But beware, if the Zidane team wins in Barcelona the Liga azulgrana would also be minimized .
The positive thing for Valverde's team is that it's very bad they are from now on in League, they have the income to win it. But, and therein lies the question, if that happened it would also be a bit of a bitter taste since the last thing that would remain of the season would be a tournament won with justice but with faults at the end, which is what It is always remembered. In summary, the Catalans do not have to wait to celebrate the League in May . Since they defeated Atlético they know they are champions.
3. Losing the Cup Final
And there would be the Cup, with the final in seven days, which is taken for granted before playing and can always be dangerous . The rival is Sevilla, so the demand is great. The Catalans repeat what they did two years ago. They won the league, that year by only one point of difference, and they fell in the Champions quarters. The Cup final, also against Sevilla, did not feed his fans. On that occasion they won the Andalusian team in extra time. So easy will not be next Saturday, April 21.
It's not the same to win a League + Champions League double than League + Cup . As it is not equal to win one or two titles, of great merit, without between these two trophies is the Champions, the most important tournament of all. And if your eternal rival is the one who wins that competition your season gets smaller . That is what happens with the great teams and the great rivalries, be it the side that is. And those things are what build the greatness of football.