Tactical Insights

How Barcelona’s all-conquering women’s team have avoided the embarrassment of the men’s side

While the men’s team continues to tie themselves in knots over Xavi’s future, Barca Femeni are pursuing a third Champions League title in four years

Barcelona are currently making the headlines for all the wrong reasons and all the right reasons, all at the same time. While the men’s team continues to baffle many with the chaotic situation surrounding head coach Xavi, the women are in another Champions League final – a fourth in six years. It’s a contrast that makes it somewhat incredible that these two sides are part of the same club.

Of course, it has not always been like this. When Frank Rijkaard’s superstars were winning the Blaugrana’s first Champions League title in 14 years and Pep Guardiola was putting together perhaps the greatest club team of all time, Barca Femeni were still battling away as an amateur team. But mass commitment from the club to its women’s team came just as Guardiola’s charges were conquering the world and investment allowed the project to develop over time, to the point that the Catalans are now among the elite in the women’s game.

At the same time, the men’s team has collapsed in the past decade and become a shell of its former self. They’ve reached one Champions League semi-final since being crowned champions of Europe again in 2015 and, most damagingly, watched a tearful Lionel Messi bid farewell amid huge financial issues.

On Saturday, the club could win the Women’s Champions League for the third time in four years. But how do Barca Femeni continue to thrive while the men’s team constantly find themselves embroiled in a myriad of problems? And can they really keep it up?

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