Ronald Koeman sacked, Xavi or Pep Guardiola appointed manager, and Lionel Messi's future
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned from his position on Tuesday evening, along with the rest of the board of directors.
With a petition among club members to remove him reaching 20,000 signatures, he opted to leave his post five months early rather than face a vote of no confidence.
Financial mismanagement and poor work in the transfer market since his arrival in 2014 have led to growing resentment among supporters.
The summer’s Lionel Messi saga, with the Argentine attempting to leave the club where he has spent his entire senior career, was the final straw.
Now, Bartomeu is gone and a brighter future should be around the corner… but not quite.
Whoever becomes the next president, they face a huge battle on and off the pitch with a mismatched squad and money problems, while also trying to ensure supporters remain on side.
Barcelona are one of the biggest clubs in world football and getting them back to where they once were is a huge task to undertake.
What happens next?
An election will happen and currently it is business executive and media entrepreneur Victor Font who is favourite to win the vote.
Ex-president Joan Laporta is also in the race, although he doesn’t seem to have a solid plan.
A Barcelona member, Font is keen to reform the club and ensure it becomes economically stable while remaining in the hands of supporters.
His ‘Si al futur’ (Yes to the Future) campaign is seeking to build a new Barca by 2030 as they look to compete after all the members of their ‘golden generation’ are no longer in the side.
La Masia is the focus again
It was once said Barcelona make superstars while Real Madrid buy them, but right now it has completely flipped.
Real Madrid are bringing in young talents to help them progress, while Barca have been forking out millions in a bid to keep them at the top of the table in Spain and Europe.
Font dreams of the ‘old days’ when the core of the team were La Masia graduates and hopes to make it happen, believing every role at the club should be taken by someone who knows Barcelona’s model.
Sort out the finances
It’s believed the current economic situation may well be the hardest the club has ever faced.
It’s no surprise on several levels considering Barcelona is owned by supporters, and they have also failed to spend wisely in the transfer market.
Font wants to improve the way the club currently generate money across the globe so they can remain self-sufficient and not rely on billionaires and huge companies to fund their transfer expenditure and wages.
Ronald Koeman sacked, Xavi or Pep Guardiola in?
Font, perhaps a little too candidly, admitted he would be getting rid of the Dutchman should he become president.
But in an interview on talkSPORT back in September he clarified the situation.
Font told White and Sawyer: “It was taken out of context. What I said was that in the last seven years we have been working on designing a project, a project that has many different pieces, and obviously the sports organisation is a very relevant part of that complex puzzle.
“We’ve been working on what the sports organisation would look like with the leadership of Xavi Hernandez, and what I said is, if we have the honour of being chosen by the members and we become the board of the club, we would like to implement the project we’ve been working on.
“Xavi as the leader of the sports organisation would be making the decision of how to handle the situation of Koeman, and I’m sure that if Koeman does well Xavi will take care of that in the right way.”
If Laporta gets the nod ahead of Font, though, he wants legendary boss Guardiola to come back and take charge.
He said back in May: “I would very much like Guardiola to come back but now he is at City and it is a decision that Pep should take. He is a benchmark for Barcelona and many Catalans would like him to coach Barça again.
“At the right time, I will speak to the person we think should be a Barça coach from 2021.”
Whatever happens in the next few months, it’s clear the long-term plan is to have the living legend become a key figure off the pitch when he retires.
Font told talkSPORT: “The ties between Messi and Barcelona are very deep; he came to the city 20 years ago, he’s been playing for this club all his life. Messi is Barcelona, Barcelona is Messi, and what we need to ensure is that even if he leaves now these ties between Messi are Barcelona prevail.
“We have a plan, and the plan we have for the future is the club would like to count on Messi, even after he retires.”
But in the short-term it’s clear the Argentine can still be a huge figure at the Camp Nou and all will be done to keep him.
European Super League
On the way out of the Camp Nou, Bartomeu dropped one last bombshell.
He said: “I can announce some extraordinary news,” said Bartomeu. “Yesterday we accepted a proposal to participate in a future European Super League, which would guarantee the future financial sustainability of the club. And we’ve accepted the future CWC [Club World Cup] format.”
It’s not totally guaranteed as it would need to be voted on by club members but the fact it has the potential to improve the club’s poor economic state can’t be ignored.
If it does go ahead it wouldn’t start until 2024 and who knows what will happen before then…