Barcelona are currently going against their “more than a club” motto, according to Sky Sports’ Spanish expert Guillem Balague.
The Catalan giants are currently top of La Liga by a single point ahead of Real Madrid, and have turned around their fortunes under Luis Enrique since the turn of the year.
Balague, however, believes with the new style of play a far cry from the years of dominance under Pep Guardiola, and an academy policy not engaged with the needs of the first team, Barcelona are not the same team.
Balague said on Revista de La Liga: “Barcelona are losing their essence, identity, there is a lack of leadership. “
“If you go through what Barcelona have been saying they are for 40, 50 years, it’s all failing, and it’s all failing big time.”
“What is the club’s philosophy? The academy. Well, the academy is developing the kind of players the first team doesn’t need anymore. Because the first team is changing its style.”
Barcelona have lost two and won 15 of their 17 games since the turn of the year, scoring 56 goals along the way.
But Balague also believes behind-the-scenes circumstances at the Nou Camp have contributed to his belief Barcelona are losing their identity, particularly having Qatar Airways as their shirt sponsor.
He added: “What else are they? More than a club. They have Qatar on their shirt, is that more than a club?
“Barcelona were at the forefront of offensive football, and now actually they become any other club. A club that goes through quick transitions, quick attacks, it could be any team, it could be Real Madrid, anybody.
“So all that is guaranteed of titles, for sure, and the cup, but it doesn’t make them more than a club, or a different club, it goes against their philosophy.
“It’s not evolution, it’s change of a style of a team that is now happier with attacking fast. That is not special.”