The 2013/14 season was tough for FC Barcelona. Right at the start, Tito Vilanova had to leave his position as coach due to his illness, which forced Barça to look for a new coach in the middle of preseason. The Argentine Gerardo Martino was the man chosen by the Club

A promising start

Despite the changes, things started well on the pitch. FC Barcelona lifted the Spanish Super Cup after beating Atletico Madrid, thanks to two draws (1-1 and 0-0). League results were also great throughout the first part of the season. Barça won all their matches, including a Clasico against Real Madrid (2-1) up until the ninth matchday when they drew at Osasuna (0-0).

Barça, league leaders until matchday 21, also started on the right foot in Europe and the Spanish Cup. Despite the injury to Messi in November, which kept him out of football until January, Barça ended the group stages of the Champions League in first position, ahead of AC Milan, Celtic, and Ajax. In the Cup, on the other hand, Cartagena, Getafe, Levante and Real Sociedad were the beaten rivals before, in February, Barça assured their place in the Final on April 16th.

Disapppointing second phase

Things started to get worse at the start of 2014. An injury to Neymar Jr., who had to live with a lot of outside noise regarding his signing, the resignation of President Sandro Rosell, and a serious injury to Valdés, who injured his knee and said goodbye to the season, made things ery tough in the final months of the season.

The results were no longer the same as in the first phase and Barça lost the top spot after 59 consecutive days at the top of the table. Not even another win at the Bernabéu (3-4) would keep Barça at the top in the last few games. Slip-ups at Anoeta (3-1), Valladolid (1-0) and Granada (1-0), amongst others, helped give a slight advantage to 'Cholo' Simeone’s Atletico Madrid

Atletico were also  Barça’s downfall in the Champions League. A very even quarter-final tie ended with Barça eliminated with a 2-1 overall score (1-1 draw in the Camp Nou and 1-0 defeat at the Calderón), after knocking out Manchester City in the last 16

In the Spanish Cup Final, a goal from Gareth Bale a few minutes from the end decided the title at the Mestalla. That goal nullified the goal from Bartra, one of Barça’s best players in April and May, coming in after the injury of another really important player, Gerard Pique

Adios Tito

For FC Barcelona, there were two more unexpected pieces of bad news. The first was the death of Tito Vilanova April 25th. The passing away of the former Barça coach hit the squad very hard, however, they were still fighting for the League title until the very last match. A win against Atletico Madrid would have secured the title for the Catalans, but Atletico fought hard for the draw at the Camp Nou (1-1), which was enough to give them their first League title in 17 years. The Cup and the League had got away from Barça in the very last games, in a really tough year for the Club.