Adios amigos. The two Spanish teams are out of the Champions League and it will be an all-German affair come May 25th when Bayern Munich take on Borussia Dortmund at Wembley. The last time a Bundesliga club won this trophy was back in 2001. But while German football continues to increasingly shine, lots of people are wondering what next for Spain’s “big two”.
“End of an era” is what many journalists wrote on Wednesday night after Barcelona‘s 7-0 aggregate defeat against Bayern Munich. Some players, such as Xavi, dismissed such headlines. “There’s no need to be drastic,” he told Spanish television. “The team has a future, we’ve competed very well up until now. I’m always optimistic and this team has the desire.”
Under Pep Guardiola, the squad played incredible football week-in, week-out. To win games 4-0 and 5-0 wasn’t a big surprise. But Pep has gone, and under current coach Tito Vilanova, there’s been a different style of football. In fact without Leo Messi, it’s like a completely different team to that of the one 12 months ago. After Guardiola, the only way was down.
The defeat at the hands of Bayern stings the Catalans – mainly because of the nil part in the scoreline. Barça are better than that – even if they did face the team who, in my opinion, are playing the best football in any league this season. That said, Barcelona are on course to win another La Liga title.
José Mourinho, meanwhile, made it pretty clear to the media that his time is all but up at Real Madrid following his side’s defeat to Borussia Dortmund. “I know I am loved in England. I am loved by some clubs,” said the Special One, “especially one”. You don’t have to be a genius to know exactly who that “one” is.
But while José is eyeing up a return to England (he won’t be at PSG next despite what you may hear), what next for Real Madrid? In the past decade, the club has gone through eleven coaches. And getting a new one wouldn’t be much a problem. To coach Madrid is, and always has been, one of the biggest jobs in world football. But who? Lots of candidates. I wouldn’t rule out the likes of Ernesto Valverde or even, brace yourselves, Rafa Benitez.
But José’s departure will be music to the ears of certain Madrid players, especially club captains Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas – both of whom had fallen out with the Portugese coach. And they’re not the only ones. A change of management will likely give Los Blancos a boost for next season – especially when rivals Barcelona’s morale is, despite being all but crowned league champions, at an unusual low.
While Spain’s “big two” are feeling crushed, two of Germany big guns are getting even bigger.
What do you think the future holds for Barcelona and Real Madrid? Let Rob Smith know on Twitter (@robsmithireland) and be sure to check us out on Facebook (/FootballElMundo). Enjoy your weekend.