Good Morning, Fear the Wall.
I apologize for not getting the Daily Bee out yesterday. I usually pre-write these the night before publishing them, but I got back from a road trip super-late on Sunday and didn’t have the time or energy to get this done. There’s a lot of news in the footballing world going on right now, and none of it is more impactful than Barcelona’s spectacular implosion in the Champions League against Bayern Munich.
Barcelona in Shambles
Barcelona were absolutely curb-stomped by Bayern Munich on Saturday by the ridiculous scoreline of 8-2. I could probably write an entire article just breaking down what went wrong for Barcelona, and believe me, a lot went wrong for Barcelona tactically, but it would be a moot point. Barcelona’s problems go far beyond the tactics of an individual match. The bottom line is Barcelona have sunk hundreds of millions in of Euros in transfer fees and wages into a dysfunctional group of players on the back ends of their careers.
Sergio Busquets lacks the legs to cover enough ground to be an effective #6. Jordi Alba is long past his prime and was completely hung out to dry on Saturday. Messi is 33, makes about €500,000 per week, and can’t carry a team anymore. Luis Suarez is slow and can’t make runs behind opposition back lines. Gerard Piqué is also old and slow. Aside from their older veterans.
These old players contribute to Barcelona having the highest wage bill in Europe, but it doesn’t stop there. Barcelona have also sunk additional nine-figure sums into transfers that haven’t worked out. They spent €120 million on Antoine Griezmann, who started on the bench. They spent €138 million on Ousmane Dembélé, whose transfer value has more than halved since then and looks to be on his way out. They spent €90 million on Philippe Coutinho, who did manage to score two goals... for Bayern Munich, after they loaned him out.
Yesterday, Barca fired Quique Sétien and hired Ronald Koeman, the former Everton and current Dutch National Team manager. While I rate Koeman higher as a coach than Sétien, ultimately, unless Barca can find a way to cut all the fat from their squad and massively re-invest in younger players who still have years of their prime remaining, it will simply be re-arranging deck chairs on the titanic.
Inter Milan Smash Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0
Inter Milan will face Sevilla FC in the Europa League final in Cologne on Friday. They’ve achieved this after running roughshod over Shakhtar Donetsk yesterday, led by braces from Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez. Antonio Conte has done a good job navigating Inter through the final rounds of the Europa League. While his future at the club is uncertain due to his frayed relationship with Inter Milan owner Steven Zhang, I think letting him go would be a mistake. Inter finished only one point behind Juventus in Serie A, and look like they could make a run at the title next season.
The Daily Buzz
Who do you have winning the Europa League on Friday?