Barcelona are a club in crisis and perhaps should have sold Lionel Messi; that’s the view of Barca expert Tom Sanderson who told RT Sport’s ‘The Camp Nou View’ of the presidency and political conflicts within the Catalonian club.

Clouds are gathering over Catalonia. Its capital, Barcelona, is the epicenter of its very own epidemic that has gripped its population. A city shackled by strict Covid laws, its residents have sought solace in their football team to distract from violent anti-lockdown clashes and heavily restrictive quarantine measures.

But those on the pitch have been unable to deliver respite to those on the city’s streets.

Barcelona fell to their first La Liga defeat to Atletico Madrid in over a decade at the weekend, slipping to 13th in the table, a result that rocked a Barcelona boat that has been sailing unsteadily since the revelations captain and all-time top scorer Lionel Messi was on the verge of leaving the club in the summer.

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Lionel Messi looks dejected during Barcelona’s defeat to Atletico Madrid in La Liga at the weekend – Getty / Soccrates Images

That has cast further doubt over manager Ronald Koeman’s tenure; the man who scored the goal to bring Barca their maiden European Cup victory in 1992 may be relying on victory in Europe to prolong his dream job, and then there’s the daunting prospect of slaloming through the club’s presidential elections on January 24, which are likely to bring in a change of face in the Barca hotseat.

Crisis point in Catalonia

Sanderson told RT Sport’s ‘The Camp Nou View’ from Barcelona: “They are facing a crisis on and off the pitch with what’s going on with the presidency and then on the pitch the results are just not coming.”

“They’re nine points behind Atletico now. Koeman is probably going to look to the Champions League to recover, in a way that’s happened three times this season, they’ve had a bad result and then gone into Europe and clawed a bit of momentum back. They’ve had three wins from three in the Champions League that’s why Koeman hasn’t taken Messi and Frenkie De Jong and is resting them.

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Lionel Messi and Barca boss Ronald Koeman – Reuters / ALBERT GEA

“But generally there are feelings of pessimism. There is a feeling that Messi should have gone. There’s a feeling that Barca are already in the post-Messi landscape with Messi still in the team. Koeman made the point of Messi traveling back from Argentina the other week and being thrown straight into La Liga.”