Barcelona may have secured their 27th La Liga title, but their season is far from over. The Catalan giants have suffered two consecutive defeats since lifting the trophy, exposing their lack of depth and quality in the squad. Coach Xavi Hernandez faces a busy summer ahead as he looks to rebuild his team and challenge for more silverware next season.
Valladolid shock Barca with 3-1 win
Barcelona’s latest setback came on Tuesday when they lost 3-1 away to Real Valladolid, a team fighting to avoid relegation. The hosts took advantage of Barca’s defensive errors and lack of intensity, scoring two goals in the first 22 minutes. After Eric Garcia fouled him in the box, Cyle Larin converted a penalty, while Gonzalo Plata doubled the lead with a low shot. Andreas Christensen scored an own goal in the second half to make it 3-0 before Raphinha pulled one back for Barca with a late header.
Xavi admitted that his players were too relaxed and unmotivated after winning the league. He also experimented with Garcia as a holding midfielder, a position that Jordi Cruyff suggested he could play, but the 22-year-old struggled to cope with Valladolid’s pressure and pace. Xavi said that signing a new holding midfielder to replace Sergio Busquets is his top priority in the summer transfer window.
Pedri ruled out for the season
Barcelona’s injury woes continued, as they were without some key players for the Valladolid game. Pedri, who has been one of Barca’s best performers this season, will miss the rest of the campaign and the Nations League finals with Spain due to a thigh injury. The young midfielder has been a regular starter for Xavi, playing 48 games in all competitions and scoring six goals.
Ronald Araujo, another young star who has impressed this season, was also absent due to fitness problems. The 23-year-old centre-back has been a solid partner for Christensen in defence, making 36 appearances and scoring four goals. Xavi will hope that both Pedri and Araujo can fully recover and be ready for next season.
Ter Stegen and Lewandowski chase records
Barcelona still has some individual awards and records to celebrate. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is on his way to becoming the goalkeeper with the fewest goals conceded in La Liga history. The German has only conceded 17 goals in 37 games, while the record is 18 goals set by Jan Oblak in 2015-16. Ter Stegen was substituted at half-time against Valladolid to preserve his chances of breaking the record, as he had already conceded two goals.
Meanwhile, striker Robert Lewandowski is the top goalscorer in La Liga with 23 goals in 33 games. The Polish international joined Barca from Bayern Munich last summer in a sensational move and has continued his prolific goal-scoring record. He is five goals ahead of his closest rival, Karim Benzema of Real Madrid. Lewandowski is also chasing his own record, when it comes to scoring most goals in a single league season, which he achieved last year with Bayern.
Jordi Alba bids farewell to Barca after 11 years
Barcelona will also say goodbye to one of their most loyal servants, Jordi Alba. The 34-year-old left-back has spent 11 years at Barca after returning from Valencia in 2012. He has made over 450 appearances for the club, scoring 19 goals and providing 91 assists. He has won 19 major trophies with Barca, including six La Liga titles, five Copa del Reys, and the Champions League in 2015.
Jordi Alba came through Barca’s La Masia academy but left in 2005 and made a name for himself at Valencia, where he also switched from midfield to defence. He was part of Spain’s Euro 2012-winning squad, scoring in the final against Italy. Jordi Alba has consistently performed for Barca, combining his defensive duties with his trademark runs and crosses down the left flank. He formed a special connection with Lionel Messi, who often found him with his passes and finished off his assists.
Jordi Alba announced his decision to leave in a social media video, saying that he had been honest with himself and the club and that it was time for a change. He thanked the Barcelona fans for their support and said Barca had given him everything. He also said that he had no agreement with any other club yet and that he would speak more about his future later. Barca also released a statement expressing their gratitude to Jordi Alba for his professionalism, commitment and dedication and wishing him all the best for the future. They said that Barca will always be a home for him.
Take the chance to see Jordi Alba play his last game for Barca at the Camp Nou. He has given Barcelona fans 11 years of passion, dedication and glory. Show him your appreciation and gratitude by buying your Barcelona tickets now and cheering him on.
Xavi eyes summer reinforcements for Barca
Xavi has clarified that he wants to strengthen his squad to compete for trophies next season. He is keen on adding more quality and depth to his midfield and attack, with several names on his radar. One of his primary targets is Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Ruben Neves, who dreams of playing for Barcelona. Super agent Jorge Mendes, who has a close friendship with Barca president Joan Laporta, is the midfielder’s representative in Portugal. Mendes is trying to broker a deal that would see Neves join Barca for around €45 million while also selling Ansu Fati to another club for €75 million, generating a profit for Barca and freeing up space for Neves.
However, Xavi is not entirely convinced by Neves as a replacement for Sergio Busquets, who is leaving the club this summer after 18 years. Xavi prefers a more defensive-minded midfielder, such as Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi or Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich. Zubimendi impressed Xavi in Barca’s 2-1 defeat to Sociedad, while Kimmich is one of the best in his position in Europe. Both players have release clauses of €60 million, which Barca would have to pay in full.
Xavi will also have to cope with Barca’s massive debts and La Liga’s salary cap regulations, which limit his spending power. It will be a challenging summer for Barca fans as they wait to see how Xavi reshapes his team for the future.
Barca have already secured their 27th La Liga title, but they will want to end the season on a high and prepare for the next one. Xavi and Barcelona FC have a lot of work to do in the transfer market as they look to rebuild the team and challenge for more silverware next season. They must sign the right players, sell the unwanted ones and balance the books.
Barca fans will hope that Xavi can succeed in his mission and bring back the glory days to the club. He has already shown his quality as a coach, leading Barca to their first league title since 2019. He has also implemented his style of play based on possession, pressing, and creativity. He has given opportunities to young talents, who have responded enthusiastically and skillfully. He has also restored the identity and pride of Barca, who have always been more than a club.