ALaLiga Santander and Copa del Rey double for Barcelona allows 2018 to be fondly remembered and they move into the new year as league leaders and into the knockout rounds of the Champions League. They will, though, have a long list of things to do in 2019 as they look to improve further and challenge on all fronts again come May. No semifinals since 2015 Lionel Messi, club captain since Andres Iniesta’s departure, sent a pointed message last summer when he said the players would do everything they could to win the Champions League again. It’s no secret that European success is the priority this year after three consecutive seasons of failure in the quarterfinals, and their first step towards the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano will be against Lyon.Upgrading the spine
Barcelona need to keep improving the squad and they have to anticipate the decline of some of their most important players. In midfield, Adrien Rabiot and Frenkie de Jong have been singled out as players wanted and the club will be pushing to secure their respective arrivals this year.
Doubts on the bench As things stand, it remains unknown whether or not Ernesto Valverde will remain on the bench at the Camp Nou next season, even though he has signed for another year. The club are allowing him to take until February to make a decision, though they have publicly stated their desire for him to stay.
No season at Barcelona ever passes without a contract renewal soap opera surrounding one of their best players and the next few months will see the future of Jordi Alba decided. Currently contracted until 2020, he has made no secret about wanting a new deal and he wants parity with Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets in his salary. Away from the pitch At a more institutional level, Barcelona will begin work on modernising the Camp Nou.
They also hope to open the Johan Cruyff Stadium, which will be a new home for the women’s team and look for ways to remodel the club’s crest.
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