Neymar and Leo Messi
Neymar and Leo MessiReuters

During the last five years, we have heard that Barcelona are defined by their philosophy as a club and their values. However, this speech leaves much to be desired if we analyse the shady aspects of the club's recent behaviour.

Fifa's decision to sanction Barça after alleged infractions related to the international transfer and registration of 10 players under the age of 18 – including 'the Korean Messi' Lee Seung Woo – is not the only thing that has brought the image of the club into question during a tumultuous year.

The Catalan giants have been embroiled in difficult court issues. Leo Messi had to pay €15m to avoid a tax evasion court case related to his image rights, having been accused of defrauding €4m in back taxes.

Then there was more financial controversy, this time surrounding Neymar. The Brazilian star joined Barça from Santos last summer, with the Catalan club initially saying they paid £48m for his services.

However, after being investigated by a court for possible misappropriation of funds following complaints from a Barcelona member, they admitted that the real price of the deal was £73m – this contributed to President Sandro Rosell's resignation.

Rosell left the presidency two and a half years before his term was up, as the Neymar case brought a torrent of criticism – even his family received threats before he handed over the reins to vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

And as if that was not enough, Barcelona are also being heavily criticised for their planned Camp Nou redevelopment, which the club's board wants to see go ahead despite widespread opposition.

Barça's directors opted to recruit Tata Martino as a consequence of Tito Vilanova's unfortunate health problems, and the Argentine boss has still to win over his critics. In fact, many reports suggest that the coach is not comfortable at the Camp Nou and wants to leave.

So when all is taken into consideration, it is been an annus horribilis for Barcelona – certainly as turbulent as the strife at the end of Frank Rijkard's period in charge, and arguably as bad as anything in living memory.

But, remarkably, the Blaugrana are still in contention for three trophies. So there is still time to achieve glory, and make this a year to remember rather than forget.