Former Spain international Gaizka Mendieta has given his thoughts on the current state of two of his former clubs, Valencia and Barcelona, expressing his hope that each can get back to their best after difficult seasons in La Liga.
Valencia are floating in mid-table as we approach the end of a disappointing and turbulent campaign for a club on their third manager of the season. Mendieta, who played for Valencia between 1993 and 2001, expects an upturn in form.
“It's sad to see them like we see them this season, with so many managers and so many changes," he said at a LaLiga media conference attended by Tribalfootball this week. “Valencia last year won the Spanish Cup with a style, an idea, a project, giving them an identity they lacked for so many years, so it's sad to see them in this situation this year.
“Of course we want to see them challenge in the cups, for trophies, every season, and hopefully this year Valencia will find again that project - that idea - to guide them to that position."
Another of Mendieta's old teams, Barcelona, have also had a troubled year. Mendieta spent the 2002/03 season on loan at the Nou Camp, making 33 league appearances before signing for Middlesbrough the following summer.
He was in reflective mood when asked about just how bad things had got for Barca, citing the 2021 presidential election as a reason to believe things will change.
“First you need to see it in perspective. To analyse Barcelona right now is difficult, because we don't know. I think it has been a transitional year within the club, and you will see the next season new players arrive, a new president, so this has been a transition season. To analyse this season in perspective, we need to see from maybe next year to have that vision.
“But definitely it is a time where things are not as stable as they probably were, where things are not how they should be. They are still a big club like they've always been, with big players, but we expect the best from Barca - and we want that from these players, and this club."
Mendieta believes that the current poor form under new manager Quique Setien, whose role is already under threat now the league title has been sealed by Real Madrid, has something to do with political issues at Barcelona.
“I do think there is something happening in the office, in the political part of the club, that somehow affects the players," he said. “Even if they don't want to leave, players with contract running out, ask who is making the decision? Who is going to be the next manger?
“So there are many questions that go through the minds of the players. As soon as the answers are clear it allows them to focus on their football rather than something else."