Barcelona can bury ghosts of 2012 against Chelsea

Grit and determination were characteristics that epitomised Chelsea’s run to Champions League glory in 2012 and never was that tenacity more apparent than against Barcelona at Camp Nou.

Against a Blaugrana side overflowing with talent Chelsea fell 2-0 down and lost John Terry to a red card in the space of nine minutes at the back end of a memorable first half. Few gave them a chance from that moment onwards.

FC Barcelona v FC Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semi Final
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But, showing that football is a game where anything can happen, the team from Stamford Bridge overcame the odds that night and upset their more fancied rivals in what can only be described as a triumph against adversity in a display of courage and resolve that will be remembered for many years to come.

Fast-forward almost six years and we see these two powerhouses of European football once again matched in the knockout stages of the Champions League. It’s a matchup that presents the Catalan outfit with an opportunity to finally bury those ghosts of 2012.

The Blaugrana have gone from strength to strength this season, they’re unbeaten in La Liga and through to the Copa del Rey final but scaling the Everest-like heights to the pinnacle of European football is what this team covets. The Champions League trophy is the ultimate goal.

Juventus v FC Barcelona  - UEFA Champions League Final
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Reaching the top of the mountain has its risks though. It only takes one wrong step to fall and a loss to Chelsea would easily be enough to derail what could go down as one of the best ever seasons in the proud history of Barcelona.

Gerard Piqué recently commented on the upcoming tie against Chelsea and how losing could be disastrous for the team. One gets the feeling there’s little complacency this time around.

“Expectations are maximum. We go out as favourites, with a chance to win. I know the atmosphere is positive, very favourable, everything looks good, but I think we have to be more prudent,” Pique said.

”We have to learn from experience, what has happened in recent years and know that one bad day could see you knocked out of the Champions League.

”A bad result against Chelsea could turn the good season we are having into one that’s not so good.

”We know where we are, in La Liga and in the cup we’re in a good position, and now we have to do it in the Champions League.

”That’s why we will play Chelsea with the aim of getting a good result, to try to win to take the first step in this tie.”

Source | Sport

Piqué was there on that fateful night at the Camp Nou in 2012. He saw first hand the resolve that Chelsea displayed and endured the pain of such a loss. The past can never be changed but the pain of that night can be lessened with a victory this time around. The ghosts of 2012 demand it.

The metamorphosis of Sergi Roberto

The metamorphosis of Sergi Roberto is nearing completion.

A product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy, the Spaniard has long been thought of as a long-term replacement for the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta and whilst his ability to contribute in the middle has rarely been questioned, it’s as a full-back that the 26-year-old is flourishing.

This transformation is undoubtedly less aesthetically appealing than his original hopes of becoming the next great Barcelona man in the middle but it’s just as important. It’s not every day a player gets labelled successor to the likes of Xavi or Iniesta; a role that’s often described with superlatives such as maestro and virtuoso but he’s worth no less to the Blaugrana as a full-back.

His willingness to play out of position under coach Ernesto Valverde has ensured Roberto remains a constant first team player this season but what’s surprising to many is his ability to contribute so effectively on both ends of the pitch.

Roberto’s pace and stamina are vital to this success at full-back and he’s more than surpassed all expectations thus far. He covers a great deal of space down the right flank and his sense of anticipation when marking or defending against quality attacking opponents is evident for all to see. Up front Roberto is just as lethal with six assists in 19 appearances.

Ernesto Valverde’s tactics clearly rely on the creativity of his full-backs, as evidenced by both Roberto’s and Jordi Alba’s level of play this season and the departure from the highly successful 4-3-3 formation has given ample opportunity to both full-backs to play an integral role in creating for the Blaugrana attack.

Still, there are many who see Nelson Semedo as the player who stands to oppose Roberto’s chances of becoming the first choice at right-back but statistically it’s clear that Sergi has him covered. Semedo has failed to create a single assist this season and despite his defensive nous, the Portuguese international will need to improve his attacking game to mount a serious challenge to Roberto.

With a great deal of football still to be played in a number of competitions this season, there’s clearly room for both Roberto and Semedo to contribute to the team but it’s becoming abundantly clear that Sergi Roberto’s future is as Barcelona’s first choice right back.

Andres Iniesta is master and mentor at Barcelona

Mastery is described as complete control or superiority over someone or something. It’s fair to say it’s also a word befitting the talents of one Andrés Iniesta.

His grey and balding appearance belies the talent that he still possesses and whilst his physicality is undoubtedly waning, the ravages of time are yet to consume the football career of the distinguished Spaniard.

Instead, we see the Blaugrana legend continue to flourish; his game as refined as ever. His latest display of artistry against Deportivo Alavés enough for coach Ernesto Valverde to label his midfield virtuosity as masterful.

“The truth is that we have good players who play in the interior role, but Iniesta is a master at that,” said Valverde.

“I thought he could help us from there. It was important not to get too many of us in the Alavés box. It would have provoked counter-attacks.

“For that we needed players who move well in space like Leo and him. It was an extraordinary move and the goal let us breathe.”

Source | Goal

That one particular run that Valverde alluded to resulted in a goal for Luis Suárez and showed the kind of brilliance that’s epitomised the career of Iniesta. His level of play at 33 years of age is confounding.

Many have described Iniesta as skilful, agile and fast and all are apt descriptions but it’s the attributes that can’t be seen physically that have ensured such a long and prosperous career. His football mind is one that few can match.

FC Barcelona v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Santander
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Wisdom is said to come with age but age alone does not guarantee enlightenment. Iniesta has proven that his approach to the game is one without pretence. His humble nature has allowed him to gain an almost unmatchable wealth of knowledge and it’s this abundance of understanding that sees the master also become the mentor.

Iniesta has much to give the many young talents coming through the system at La Masia. His insights in the coming years will be invaluable to these younger players as well as ensuring that the more established names within the Blaugrana squad flourish.

Con el maestro @andresiniesta8

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In a time when we’re seeing the philosophy of nurturing the youth from within become less and less important for Barcelona, it’s clear that players such as Iniesta have an even larger role to play to make sure these young stars have the best chance to fulfil their potential.

There’s little doubt that the prospects of Football Club Barcelona still hinge on the little master’s quality of play on the pitch but his involvement in the future is just as important and with a little luck and hard work we just might see some of the club’s younger prospects follow the path that Iniesta has blazed at the Camp Nou.

Andre Gomes is the odd man out at Barcelona and it’s time he was gone

It’s time for the club to ditch the midfielder

In a Barcelona midfield replete with prowess, André Gomes is the odd man out.

The Blaugrana have a proud tradition of quality midfielders. Names like Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Ronaldinho often spring to mind when one thinks of the calibre that has long been associated with the Catalan outfit but it’s clear now that Andre Gomes is not that kind of player. He’s proving to be the antithesis of a proud heritage.

Despite coach Ernesto Valverde’s unwavering faith in the towering Portuguese presence, his performances on the pitch this season have been far from ideal. Primarily used as substitute, he’s produced little of value to Barcelona.

Gomes has failed to score a single goal or create an assist for the Blaugrana in 530 minutes of playing time this season. This inability to produce for Barça is proof that he’s not at the level required to be a first team regular, he’s like a star in a big city night, his shine just isn’t quite bright enough.

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
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Not only has Gomes failed to make his mark on the pitch, he now has even more competition for a midfield spot that many feel he has little to no claim to at all.

The addition of Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho, the unexpected rise of Paulinho and the recent form of Sergi Roberto as a midfield option means he is now-more than ever-a wage that Barcelona can’t afford.

Gomes is currently contracted until 2021 and for a player that’s hovered on the fringes of the first team this season, his £80,000 a week just isn’t viable.

The recent spending spree to obtain Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho means that Barcelona, at least from a business perspective, need to try and recoup some of that outlay. The departures of Arda Turan and Javier Mascherano will go a fair way to doing just that but Gomes’ salary is without doubt one that Barcelona could do without.

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images

Still, there are many who feel he’s entitled to further opportunity to prove his worth to the club. At what cost though? It would wasteful to see another midfielder sitting on the bench or a Barcelona B hopeful being delayed their opportunity to give Gomes a further chance. It just doesn’t make sense.

No, André Gomes has been given enough opportunity to prove he’s up to the challenge of becoming a Barcelona player and he’s failed to do so. It’s time the club moved on and made it known that he’s now available for transfer.

Why Ousmane Dembele should take his time returning for Barcelona

Just when it looked as though Ousmane Dembélé was ready to showcase his astounding skill set to the world, it happened again.

The curse of Anoeta may well be lifted for Barcelona but there’s little doubt that Dembélé isn’t too fond of the place after injuring his hamstring just four games back from a four-month hiatus.

Injury notwithstanding, there were glimpses of prowess against Real Sociedad for the young Frenchman. One run late in the game displaying the silky touch and speed that made him such an attractive proposition in the first place but once again his body failed him.

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
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A great deal of hope was pinned to the youthful chest of Dembélé when he first signed for the Blaugrana. The French winger was labelled the heir apparent to Neymar; a saviour for a team that many said was on its last legs but five months on from the historic signing, he’s yet to show his worth.

Injuries are a tough pill to swallow for fans but in the case of Dembélé, the current state of play for the high-flying Catalan club means there’s little to be gained by rushing him back despite the hefty price tag that came with his arrival to the Camp Nou.

Instead, the current circumstances call for a more patient approach to his return.

The addition of Philippe Coutinho gives the club an attacking option on the wing and with Ernesto Valverde showing his tactical nous by implementing a successful 4-4-2 formation, there’s no immediate need for Dembélé in the squad.

2018 FC Barcelona Open Training Session Jan 5th
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The prognosis for this latest injury to Dembélé is unquestionably of a much more positive nature with the club making a statement that he is likely to be out for three to four weeks.

Whilst there’s an argument to be made that Dembélé’s astronomical transfer figure means his inclusion to the squad as soon as possible is of paramount importance, the need for the 20-year-old to fully recover and work on his strength and conditioning is likely to be the smarter recourse.

Patience will indeed be virtuous for Barcelona should they decide to give the young star in the making some extra time before reintegrating him into the team.

How Philippe Coutinho might line up for Barcelona

Barcelona finally have their man in Philippe Coutinho but just what will they do with him?

Coutinho’s Camp Nou arrival has captured the attention of the footballing world but many are left wondering just where the Catalan giants will use the Brazilian maestro in a team already full of quality players.

During his time at Liverpool, Coutinho has proven himself to be a quality attacking midfielder/left winger and whilst many are calling him a future replacement for Andrés Iniesta, the astronomical transfer calls for a more permanent inclusion in the squad.

Heat map of Coutinho’s Premier League games for Liverpool this season. (via @CEStats Twitter)

Oscar Wilde once wrote that a cynic is “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” We all know the hefty price that Barcelona have paid for the Brazilian star but in order for this deal to be of any value to the club, Coutinho must be given the opportunity to produce results. In other words, he needs time on the pitch.

There are a number of different formations that Barcelona may use to ensure Coutinho’s talents are fully utilised and in most cases it allows for a rotational policy for rest time for some of the team’s biggest stars.

Coutinho’s arrival signals a depth of quality for Barcelona and coach Ernesto Valverde has some big tactical decisions to make.

Here are some formations that we could see in the coming months.

4-3-3 with Coutinho on the left wing

A staple of Barcelona’s footballing ethos for many years, the 4-3-3 formation has taken a backseat this season but with the addition of Coutinho and the return of Dembélé, there’s likely to be a re-emergence at some point in the near future.

Coutinho as a left wing is a very attractive proposition. In five appearances in this position for Liverpool this season he’s scored four goals and has five assists.

This line up would allow for Dembélé to come off the bench or for Messi to take a well-earned rest. It also allows for Iniesta to keep his left midfield role.

4-4-3 with Coutinho as a central midfielder

Another 4-3-3 option is one that allows for Iniesta to be rested and features a front three of Messi, Suárez and Dembélé.

This is likely the formation that most envisioned when word got out that Coutinho was to eventually become successor to the midfield marvel that is Andrés Iniesta.

Coutinho played a total of nine games for Liverpool this season in a comparable role and was outstanding with four goals and three assists.

4-4-2 (diamond midfield) with Coutinho as an attacking midfielder

Ernesto Valverde has used a diamond midfield on a number of occasions this season-especially in attack-and there’s a good chance that it will be where Coutinho gets his first start with the club.

This line up allows Coutinho to link up with both Suarez and Messi, creating opportunities for both of them as well as having his own shot on goal.

The Brazilian has played just one game for Liverpool in a similar role but did produce a goal in the performance.

4-4-2 with Coutinho as a left midfielder

This position is another that Coutinho has only played in once this season but it certainly was a memorable one.

Against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, Liverpool destroyed the Russian team 7-0 and Coutinho was instrumental in the victory. He scored a hat-trick and earned a perfect ten for his performance by

Whilst there’s little doubt that the quality of opponent was subpar that night, Coutinho’s performance should be enough to convince Valverde that he deserves to be considered once again in this more conventional 4-4-2.

4-2-3-1 with Coutinho as an attacking left midfielder

This formation sees Coutinho in a similar role to that of the 4-3-3 but this time he’s sitting a little deeper back in midfield. He still has free reign of the left flank in attack and the opportunity to link up with Suarez but he also has a direct link with Messi in the middle.

The 4-2-3-1 is one of the few formations that feature a front four of Coutinho, Messi, Dembélé and Suarez and could be the one we see if Iniesta is indeed to be rested in certain league games.

4-1-4-1 with Coutinho as an attacking left midfielder

Coutinho and Iniesta share a midfield link in this 4-1-4-1 formation and Coutinho has the ability to creep forward in attack into a left wing role to connect with Suarez up front.

This formation also allows for some versatility and can easily become a 4-3-3 should Messi and Coutinho move from the midfield to the wings. Dembélé would come off the bench in this line up or as with the 4-3-3, Messi could be rested.

All formations done via

Where do you think Coutinho should line up for Barcelona? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Five midfield options for Barcelona in the January transfer window

Will the club spend big this winter?

The ever-growing list of midfield talent linked to Football Club Barcelona in recent weeks is testament to the club’s undeniable pulling power but it also points to a need for new talent in the middle of the pitch.

The big question though is who’s up to the standard needed to continue the fine tradition of Blaugrana midfield virtuosity? Here’s five choices that fit the celestial expectations that come from Football Club Barcelona.

Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool v Leicester City - Premier League
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The saga continues.

Nike’s recent leak that Coutinho had signed with Barcelona was the latest drama in the soap opera that surrounds the Brazilian ace.

The reported transfer fee of £125 million is astronomical and there are many who doubt if he’s worth it but value for money aside, Coutinho’s ability to create, his passing, and his finishing skills would give Barca a much-needed creative spark in midfield.

He’s still the number one target for the Blaugrana and a player that contributes to the team immediately.

Houssem Aouar

Toulouse v Olympique Lyonnais - Ligue 1
Photo by Manuel Blondeau/Icon Sport

Houssem Aouar is the future.

At just 19 years of age, Aouar is a player with a great deal of upside. What amazes most about the Olympique Lyon player is his versatility. It’s confounding for someone so young.

He can play from a deep defensive position to a forward and even wider attacking one and his ability to dribble the ball past defenders and tackle with equal measure is evidence to his all-around abilities.

According to French newspaper L’Equipe, Barcelona have held serious talks with Aouar’s representatives in France.

Arthur Melo

Lanus v Gremio - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2017
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He’s already worn the Blaugrana jersey so it’s no secret that Arthur is keen on a move to the Camp Nou.

The Gremio midfielder is highly regarded as a future footballing star and Barcelona are keen to get him on board. It’s thought that he’ll be loaned out should he sign and the latest speculation is that his transfer fee could be as much as 50 million euros.

There have been many comparisons between Arthur and Barcelona star Andres Iniesta and it’s safe to say that should the Brazilian become half the player that Iniesta is, the money would be well spent.

Nabil Fekir

Olympique Lyonnais v Olympique Marseille - Ligue 1
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Nabil Fekir is on a tear right now.

A brilliant attacking midfielder, Fekir has scored 16 goals in 24 appearances for Olympique Lyonnais this season and has been named man of the match on 10 occasions.

Much like Coutinho, Fekir would likely become an automatic first team selection and would contribute immediately. His passing, crossing of the ball and scoring from both long distance and inside the box are all world class. Fekir would be a brilliant addition to the team.

Mesut Özil

Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Premier League
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It’s clear Mesut Özil is unhappy at Arsenal and this could prove to be Barcelona’s gain.

It’s not often that a former Real Madrid star is linked with Barcelona but the class of Özil shouldn’t be overlooked and according to reports, a deal involving Arda Turan has been suggested.

Özil is a proven performer, plays an attacking midfield role and is a brilliant passer of the ball. He’s undoubtedly in his prime and his style of play would mesh well with that of Barcelona’s.

Which midfielder do you think Barca should move for this winter? Or are they OK as they are? Let us know your thoughts and comments below!

Lionel Messi is turning back the clock at Barcelona

The Argentine is showing no signs of slowing down

Another Clasico has come and gone and with it another spellbinding display from Lionel Messi. Fine wine doesn’t age this well.

The preseason narrative surrounding the career of the 30-year-old was one of inevitable decline but instead we see the diminutive maestro having one of his greatest seasons yet.

Rewind just four months to the scene of the Santiago Bernabéu and Football Club Barcelona put in a nefarious performance against archrivals Real Madrid. The critics decried the performance. Many believed that Messi and the Blaugrana’s best days were long gone.

Instead we’ve witnessed Barcelona’s La Liga campaign become one of reinvention and the success is plain for all to see.

Real Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga
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The once vaunted 4-3-3 formation has become a mere memory in recent weeks. Instead we see coach Ernesto Valverde employing a slightly less rousing, yet decidedly lucrative 4-4-2.

Despite such tactical diversity, Leo Messi continues to display his superiority by flourishing in this new look team. The greats always adapt.

The Argentine leads La Liga with 15 goals in 17 appearances and is second in goal assists with six but more importantly he’s shown that regardless of his position on the pitch, he can dominate a game like no other.

Conversely, we see his biggest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo struggling to make his mark. Despite equalling Messi’s record five Ballon d’Or’s last season, Ronaldo has been left in Messi’s wake this season. Daylight separates them.

Real Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga
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Going in to last weekend’s El Clásico, es una final (it’s a final) was a cliché that was thrown about all too often but Real Madrid came out in the first half as if it was indeed their last chance to claw their way back into contention in the league.

It was clear from the first minute that Zidane’s tactics revolved around stopping Messi. He employed Mateo Kovačić to man-mark him and it would eventually be the downfall for Los Blancos.

The first half of the game produced little in the way of a highlight reel but the second stanza was a feast for the eyes of Barca fans.

Messi had a hand in all three goals scored by the Blaugrana. The first from Suarez occurring due to Kovačić’s unwillingness to leave Messi alone, a sublime penalty strike for the second and a boot-less assist to Vidal for the final nail in the coffin.

Once more, El Clásico left us with an everlasting image of Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga
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This time we saw Messi with the likeness of a deity. His arms outstretched and eyes facing the heavens, as if channelling some kind of higher power. It was a performance that one Spanish newspaper labelled ‘celestial.’

Messi is indeed out of this world. His play this season has reached a level we’ve not seen from the virtuoso in many years and in the process he’s solidified his position as the best player in world football.

Why Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona is now the best move for both teams

Confessions of a Barcelona and Liverpool fan

I was having a beer after work when I first saw the news. The headline emboldened across my screen read: “Barcelona chasing Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.” I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Seeing the diminutive Brazilian in the midfield of the Blaugrana was an exciting prospect but despite Barca being my number one team, I also follow Liverpool. I felt torn.

I quickly downed my beer like a construction worker who’s had a long day in the sun whilst I took in every word of the report and despite such transfer rumours often being just that, rumours, I thought this would likely come to fruition in the near future.

Liverpool FC v Spartak Moskva - UEFA Champions League
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Fast forward a few months and the amount of words penned about Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona would be enough to fill a tome comparable to War and Peace. Such is the theatre of modern day football journalism.

Coutinho himself has stated his willingness to sign and one gets the feeling that’s it’s a matter of when, not if, Coutinho will join the Catalan team but the big question, at least for me, is whether or not Barcelona need him as much as Liverpool do?

It’s a query I’ve asked myself countless times over the last few months and perhaps my passion for both teams lead me to a compromise of sorts but it’s clear now that Liverpool can indeed afford to let the Brazilian go. For the right price anyway.

The team from Anfield have as potent an attack as almost anyone in English football right now. The emergence of Mo Salah this season, combined with the reliability of Roberto Firmino up front, and the class of Sadio Mane have seen the Reds score 38 goals in the Premier League thus far.

Add to that the opening of the floodgates that has been their Champions League campaign and you have a team that has little trouble finding the back of the net. It’s the other end of the pitch that hasn’t been so pretty.

Liverpool’s poor defence is well documented and it’s this disparity between their attack and defence that has me convinced Coutinho will indeed become a regular at the Camp Nou.

The summer transfer window saw Liverpool playing hardball and flat out refusing to let go of the Brazilian star but with a few months of varying success in the Premier League, now is the time to cash in for them.

They desperately need to bolster their backline and the injection of cash for Coutinho is the solution to such a problem. This move will be a win-win for both teams. Coutinho will be an outstanding addition to Football Club Barcelona.

Sevilla FC v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League
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In nine appearances in a midfield role this year-the position he would most likely fill for Barcelona-Coutinho has scored seven goals and assisted three. His ability to make accurate short passes and his creativity with the ball at his feet are qualities that would suit the way in which Football Club Barcelona play.

With an ageing Andres Iniesta and a few midfielders of a defensive persuasion, Coutinho’s creativity will be a huge benefit to a Barcelona team that has been missing a little something in attack since Neymar left.

After such a long drawn out saga and a few moments of doubt as a fan of both teams, I’ve come to believe the move is best for both teams.

I’m looking forward to reading the next big headline, “Philippe Coutinho signs for Football Club Barcelona.”

Jordi Alba shines bright for Barcelona

The full-back has played a starring role this season

Jordi Alba has arrived.

The Barcelona left-back has stepped his game up a notch this season and the results are plain to see.

With the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and the injury to French international Ousmane Dembele, the left wing of Barcelona’s attack has become rich pickings for the 28-year-old Spaniard this year.

After arriving at Camp Nou in 2012, Alba has been a solid, if unspectacular player for the club but it’s only now that we are seeing him flourish in what is a new-found role for the Blaugrana.

His combination with Leo Messi this season has played a major role in the success of the team and Ernesto Valverde was full of praise when he discussed the combination between the two in an interview following Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Villarreal.

“Jordi Alba-Messi connections are life insurance for the team,” said Valverde.

“It’s one of our weapons and we use it very well. They understand each other well in attack and the arrival of Jordi Alba is so unexpected by the rival that it helps us a lot.”

Source | ESPN

Valencia v Barcelona - La Liga
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It’s this recent freedom to press forward in attack that has rival defenders surprised and Alba’s pace and accurate passing has produced five goal assists this season-the most of any Barca player- with four being scored by Lionel Messi.

It was only last month that Alba admitted he feels he’s found his confidence again with the departure of Neymar and subsequent freedom on the left flank.

“I’ve recovered my confidence,” said Alba.

“Now I have the whole flank and that’s brilliant for me. I feel comfortable, I have a lot of energy and that’s being shown on the pitch.”

Source | Sport

The emergence of Alba as a legitimate attacking threat and his combination with Messi has many comparing him to former Brazilian right-back Dani Alves and whilst the comparison might well be a premature one, there’s plenty of parallels between the way both have combined with the Argentine.

Athletic Club v Barcelona - La Liga
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Messi is obviously confident in Alba’s ability in much the same way he was with Alves. You only have to watch the way in which the Argentine positions himself when Alba is on the attack to see it.

It’s true that Neymar’s departure from the Camp Nou played a large role in Alba’s success. New coach Ernesto Valverde has shown more confidence in him than his predecessor Luis Enrique ever did, and the introduction of a 4-4-2 formation this year has given Alba even more freedom to push forward and attack.

It’s undeniable that the resurgent career of Jordi Alba has contributed to Barcelona’s current success this season, and his good form will continue to be a requisite for future achievements for the Catalan club. His time to shine has arrived.