Few sporting sides are as synonymous with success as Catalan giants FC Barcelona, who have dominated the European footballing landscape along with compatriots Real Madrid for the best part of a century.
Keeping pace with their great rivals Real Madrid has always been a yardstick for Barcelona, who have only 5 European Cups in comparison to Real’s 14 but that is one of the only areas where there is any sort of gap between the two legendary clubs.
Barcelona enjoyed two decades of relative dominance in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, winning all 5 of their Champions League trophies between 1992 and 2015. Legendary homegrown talents such as Pep Guardiola, Xavi, Andreas Iniesta, and Lionel Messi were all instrumental in the two decades of success enjoyed by the Catalans and their dominance within the game looked impenetrable.
However, this has not turned out to be the case, Barcelona have still enjoyed success but in Europe and beyond, they have struggled.
Financial issues have started to rear their ugly head at the Camp Nou in recent years, with the likes of Neymar Jr and Antoine Greizmann joining the club for hefty fees, which has caused problems on the balance sheet.
These time and money problems came to a head in 2021 as legendary Lionel Messi could not agree terms with the club that made him a superstar and fled the Camp Nou, to join big spending Paris Saint Germain.
Messi’s departure felt like the end of an era at Barcelona and whilst there appears to be young and exciting talent waiting in the wings in the form of Pedri and Gavi, Barcelona look to be a far cry from the all-conquering side they were a few seasons ago.
Legendary midfielder Xavi is back at his boyhood club as manager and whilst his attempts to steady the ship have worked in La Liga, Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League once more in the 2022/23 campaign.
Being drawn against fellow European giants Bayern Munich and Inter Milan was always going to be tough for Barcelona but they have once again dropped into the Europa League, indicative of the current plight they find themselves in.
Barcelona fans will be quick to point out that the season is still young and with the World Cup on the horizon, Barcelona will have time to reset and kick on in 2023.
At +125 with Caesars offers for New Jersey to win the La Liga title in 2023, Barcelona remain well in with a chance of lifting the trophy, whilst they are also as short as +300 to win the Copa del Rey.
Winning the Europa League would give them a boost ahead of next season’s Champions League and at +650, they are one of the favorite fitness groups to clinch the crown.