FC Barcelona Sporting Director Deco did not mince his words while speaking to the press following the club’s thrilling and ultimately very disappointing 3-3 draw with Granada in their La Liga clash on Sunday night. Now, the club’s fans are calling for his removal after many of them were left offended by his remarks.
Barcelona are defending their La Liga title, but the draw saw them dropping more points and falling ten points behind leaders Real Madrid. They are currently sitting in third place, a further five points behind neighbours Girona.
The match on Sunday exposed Barcelona’s vulnerability particularly in defence, and Deco had some strong opinions about the club and how he thinks they should move forward.
In an interview with Portuguese outlet Nascer Do Sol, Deco said: “A new direction is fundamental and the president [Joan Laporta] agrees with me on this. Profound change is needed. There’s a method that’s exhausted”.
Deco, who played for Barcelona from 2004 to 2008, explained further that he is determined to take the club to the future by letting go of old ways. This includes finding a new manager who could introduce a new philosophy. He said: “We need to find someone who will break with the past once and for all and move into a new paradigm.”
It has to be noted that “the Barcelona way” is the club’s signature style of play that was created by the legend Johan Cruyff and is believed to have been perfected by Pep Guardiola. This method gave birth to some of the club’s most successful eras, helping them become one of the greatest clubs in the world. Deco’s call for change undermined this philosophy and naturally angered the club’s legions of fans.
In contrast to Laporta’s often overly-optimistic statements, Deco also declared that the club’s financial problems has crippled them to a point where he knows he won’t be able to make an irresistible offer to the potential replacement for outgoing manager Xavi Hernandez.
He said: “We have a serious financial problem on our hands and that was one of the reasons why they hired me. We do not have money for the investments that other million-dollar clubs make and that discourages any coach. At this moment we cannot provide these means.”
Essentially, Deco has confirmed that whoever manages Barcelona in the 2024-25 season, he won’t be able to have free reign over signing reinforcements due to the fact that the club simply can’t afford to compete in the transfer market.
Apart from the issue with hiring a manager and potential transfers, Deco’s words also raised concerns over whether he will push Laporta to do away with the club’s ownership model. As of now, Barcelona is one of the few clubs left in the world which is still a true club, meaning it is entirely owned by members.
The club’s financial situation has left it on the back foot against wealthy clubs such as Real Madrid and oil-state backed clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Because of this, the club may eventually cave in to the pressure of allowing foreign investment.
Meanwhile, amid all the outrage coming from the public, Deco has claimed that his words were simply misunderstood. He said that the outdated model he is talking about refers to the club’s financial crisis and the club’s methods for recruitment.
The publication also issued an apology for the “misunderstanding”, but many are sceptical that the meaning was lost in translation. After all, Deco who was born and raised in Brazil and later became a Portuguese citizen, was speaking his native language during the interview. In any case, it remains to be seen if there will be a major shakeup within the Barcelona ranks, particularly at a time when they are on the hunt for their next manager.