The Argentinean born start, Lionel Messi, has had an injury-plagued season and has added another one to the list this year. He is set to come back on January and to be fully recovered from the pulled hamstring. There are various questions about his availability for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year; with all his recent injuries and his lack of form, F.C. Barcelona and the Argentinean national team are going to have to start looking for different options on the pitch.
In the past years, F.C. Barcelona has been able to rely on players like Pedro or Fabregas to substitute the Argentinean star, but none of them were able to make a difference on the pitch. La Liga is not competitive for teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico de Madrid recently, and maybe Valencia, which is why Barcelona will still win games without Messi.
The main issue for Barcelona will be the UEFA Chamions League, in which all the top-flight European teams compete for the cup. Barcelona’s run has been perfect so far, in the group stage they have managed to beat everyone home and away; they now position first in the group. The main issues comes on the playoff rounds because that is when the real competition is going to be for Barcelona, but they do have an option: Neymar Junior.
F.C. Barcelona’s latest purchase will finally have his chance to shine and show what he is really all about. Neymar, who hails from Santos, will literally replace Messi in the attack.
The team will eventually have to learn how to play for him, just like they did with Messi, because Neymar is the only player in the world that can probably measure up to the task of being Messi’s competition. Neymar has the hardest task that any soccer player will ever have, as he is going to have to measure up to the best player in the world and the spotlight will be on him.
The Brazilian has everything in his plate to become the next legend of soccer, and he will probably do a good job in the offense, but it won’t be easy. The question rises, no matter how good Neymar is, will he be able to outshine Lionel Messi?
Tata Martino, Alejandro Sabella
Gerardo Martino, Barcelona’s coach, swore to be ready for anytime Messi would go down with an injury. Neymar has admitted that Martino has separately practiced with him and Fabregas in order for them to learn the role that Messi has in the attack. The problem is the amount of games and minutes that a player of Messi’s caliber is exposed to. He plays every game, the full 90 minutes and up to three times a week, regardless of his ability to perform at a high level, and his body still needs rest. After all, he is human.
Alejandro Sabella, the coach for the Argentinean national team, will have his hands full getting ready for the World Cup next year. All the signs point that Messi will be 100 percent healthy in January, but who knows what can happen from January until June.
Replacing Messi in a team in which he is not only the star player, but also the captain, can be a bit of an ordeal, however Argentina has plenty of talented players scattered around the world to pick from. Erik Lamela, currently at Tottenham Spurs of England, is one of the chosen players to substitute the Barcelona star, Walter Montillo, Augusto Fernandez and Ezequiel Lavezzi are some of the other players watched closely by the coach.
The truth is that Lionel Messi is going to struggle to get back into shape, the coaches will have to start caring about the player’s physical health first instead of the difference he can make on the pitch. Messi will come back, better than ever if anything, he has done it before and he will do it again.
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