- Arthiac Team
The players that represent their national teams and their clubs are the same, but they're not able to pull the trigger at FC Barcelona.
Today, we take a look at the possible reasons why the players of the Catalonia club are not able to express themselves as they do on the International stage.
It is definitely a concern if you are a Barca fan as you must have seen Gavi performing for Spain at the Nations League against Belgium and France.
His dedication levels went through the roof as he ran his legs out to keep the opposition in check. Yeah he must've been rusty with his challenges, but the effort was there to be seen.
Let's take another example, Busquets! He's proven his quality time and time again in the past and for that matter, he still delivers at the autumn of his career.
However, he delivers in the red and blue of his country rather than his club, Barcelona. At the international stage, he has been sublime as he keeps the ball rolling in front of his defensive line. At the Nations League final, Busquets was the "Player of the final" as he won an exclusive award even though his country lost at the hands of the current world champions, France.
Well, maybe you couldn't see the impact Sergio Busquets had on the field (as Spain plays a brand of football that is smooth and pleasing to the eye), but that's what he is all about. He's the one who works on the "analytical side" of the game. He certainly has an eye for a pass.
However, these Barcelona players are not able to click when they put on the iconic stripes of the city of Barcelona.
Without further ado, let's dive into the reasons:
1. System of play
Well, there are many systems that a player will have to adapt in their careers. Some of them may even change their positions on the field to take up a new role in the side to suit the system of play that a coach applies.
Let's take the example of Busquets. He plays as a pivot and reference point for Spain and FC Barcelona, but things are not going along well with him at club level.
For Luis Enrique, he is a regular starter and a consistent performer. As an international opponent, if Busquets is in his zone, you just "know" that you can't take the ball off him. It's as simple as that. For Spain, he is as consistent as ever and he delivers almost every time, but at Barcelona? You could say that he seems lost.
In their last game against Atletico Madrid, before the October international break, Busquets and Pique were seen in an open conversation where they seemed to disappear with each after they conceded their second goal.
At the end of the day, it's probably all on the system that Koeman uses. Over the years, Barcelona are well known from their 4-3-3 formation which had gone on and given them a lot of success stories that you could tell your grandkids.
That 4-3-3 system is still being used by Spain's national team coach, Luis Enrique while the coach at FC Barcelona, Ronald Koeman uses multiple formations and systems in a game.
You just couldn't tell what system Koeman would use before the game got underway as the systems change almost immediately after the opponent's score a goal. Koeman uses a 4-2-3-1 and a 3-5-2 formation from time to time which also includes the 4-3-3 formation which is being implemented in the middle of the game.
As a professional player, you just have no choice, but just follow the orders and march on.
The 4-2-3-1 and the 3-5-2 formation doesn't suit the majority of the Barcelona players as they have been brought up in a culture that uses the 4-3-3 formation and that is probably why we think that the likes of Sergio Busquets, Frankie De Jong, Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay, Gavi are all struggling to find their rhythm in Barcelona colours.
2. International Pride
Well, there is no denying that when you play for your country, there is no better feeling in the world when you go out there to represent your country as the world along with your nation watches you from every corner of the world.
Now, there's a reason why we brought it up.
Remember the days when Spain were really way below par in the 2014 FIFA World Cup?
Those years were a turning point in Spain's illustrious football history as they were defeated 5-1 by Netherlands in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup which was also the worst ever loss by a defending champion.
Hohohoooo, talk about the tables being turned upside down, or talk about the ceiling coming crashing down.
At the Camp Nou, there are all kinds of ceilings crashing down left, right and centre.
However, with Spain, the players, coaches and the support staff worked their way back on top to make them a formidable side once again that everyone would fear to face.
At Barcelona, there doesn't seem to be a way upward. Of course, that upward rise will come along in a few years, but when you're a club as big and huge with the stature and history that you've written over generation's, performances like the ones in La Liga just cannot be accepted.
As a matter of fact, their recent Champions League performances and scoreline can't be accepted (We don't have to mention about the score lines right?).
Things are certainly worrying at FC Barcelona, but we always talk about Effort.
Effort is the only factor that you can control in life as an individual. In a game, Effort is the only factor you can control as an individual and as a team.
It's been 2-3 season's now, the ceilings have fallen hard at FC Barcelona and the players just don't seem to be putting in the added effort in the game to work their way back into the game.
When you play for your country, you play as if you go out there for war. It may be the first or last time you play for your country, but you give in a 120% on the field to make things work for you and your team.
At club level, you may take things a little bit lightly. Don't get us wrong, at club level, you still look to work your way into the playing XI.
Well, for us, the performance levels from the players at Barcelona is sitting at 80%. There's not a lot of grit and determination in those wearing the Barca jersey (80% may also seem a lot. It might be even lower).
3. Hidden Grudges
This may be a huge factor to Barcelona's downfall in the recent past.
We genuinely feel that the players don't admire and appreciate the work of art that Koeman has in the drawing board.
In front of the camera's and the media, the players may put on a plastic face and speak up saying that they're with the coach and that they are looking for solutions to succeed.
Of course they are looking for solutions, but we wonder if they are committed to finding a solution. We wonder if they go the extra mile to get the solution done.
When you're at work, things may be hard. Your boss might be standing on your toes asking for more and somewhere down the line, in your mind, you know that you just can't let him/her down (at least for most of you all) and then, you commit yourself to find a solution. You put in the hard yards, you go beyond boundaries to find a solution.
Well, in Koeman's case, he might be looking for ideas and solutions out of the box, but his players may not be committing themselves to apply themselves and get the solution done.
At the end of the day, you could be there at home, at work, the park or at a coffee shop reading this article and you could put the blame on Koeman for not getting things done at the Camp Nou.
It's one of the easiest critics you could deliver. For a club, it's always easier to "sack the coach" instead of "sacking members of the squad" that aren't putting in the hard yards.
We agree that Koeman has not been getting it right for the last two seasons, but the question should also be asked if the player's love and enjoy working with him.