F.C. Barcelona’s injury situation has become habit. Injured is not only their best player Messi, but also Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Pique, Fabregas, Mascherano and now Victor Valdes. These 8 players are all part of the starting squad and now Gerardo Martino is going to have to depend on mostly youngsters from the reserve team.
Neymar will take over Messi’s position for now and the other positions can be satisfied to an extent, except for Valdes, Barcelona’s starting goalkeeper. The keeper situation for Barcelona has been pretty rocky since Valdez announced he will exit the team at the end of the season. There are many goalkeepers that interest the club including former Atletico de Madrid and now Manchester United’s own De Gea. Pinto, the veteran backup keeper for the past 6 years, has performed poorly whenever he got the chance to play and it will be hard for him to fill in for Valdes, who has had an amazing season so far.
David De gea has been one of the strongest candidates to fill the shoes of Valdes next season, but his level at Manchester United has been far from good. He has had some good performances, including against Real Madrid last year for the champions league, but this hasn’t been enough for him to be the undisputed starter for the team. This keeper has proved to have amazing reflexes and has made some impressive and clutch saves, but he lacks the personality, the leadership and the trust that Barcelona needs in their goal.
When looking for goalkeepers, Barcelona has to look into security and experience instead of current value and form. In order to replace a goalkeeper who has started form the team for 11 years, the new acquisition will have their hand full and will have to prove themselves on every match.
The young defender, Marc Bartra, has been one of Martino’s favorite when it comes to reconstructing the defense. Bartra hasn’t been the strongest contender for Pique or Puyol and hasn’t impressed anyone in the pitch, but eventually he could become a solid starter. Mascherano, who is naturally a stopper, has proved to be a key player that can function in any position in the defense and the midfield.
The Spanish league, or La Liga, besides Real Madrid and Barcelona, does not have any competitive teams to perform on an international level. Barcelona will not have a problem winning games in La Liga during this phase full of injuries, but they will struggle to perform in real competition matches at the UEFA Champions league.
Barcelona has been one of the favorite teams to win at every competition for quite sometime yet, but that favoritism is due to history of play not on current statistics and performance. The arrival of Neymar Junior has definitely given Barcelona a boost of talent on the attack, although the Brazilian possesses game-changing skills, it is clearly not enough to make a team win the triple crown, league, cup and UEFA.
Read more soccer rumors, news and opinion on our soccer page