Welcome back to TalkBarca. Our topic for today is TOP 6 BARCELONA PLAYERS AFTER LOCKDOWN. We are going to discuss some of the best performers after football restarted. Barcelona failed to win the La Liga title. However, there were some players for us who gave us hope of positive performances in the Champions League. Barcelona did not accomplish much as a team in La Liga. However, there were some players who were able to create a big impact heading into the Champions League. This article is specifically focused on the performances after football restarted. Who do you think they are?
We are going to compare them from their performances before the lockdown and we are going to discuss how much they improved. It is important to keep an eye for the improvements in our players so that we know who is working hard. The CL is coming up and we have to face the dangerous side of Napoli. Therefore, let’s take a brief look at which player made it to our top 5 list. You can already guess some names and they are going to be obvious as well. However, I am sure that you’ll be surprised at a few.
TOP 6 BARCELONA PLAYERS AFTER LOCKDOWN
6: IVAN RAKITIC
I think Rakitic deserves to be included in this list. The critics declared him as rusty and worthless before the lockdown. Rakitic was not performing well and his struggle on the pitch was clearly visible. He was also blamed for always back passing the ball. Furthermore, he was declared slow and the fans plus the club management was considering selling the Croatian at any cost. Now there are still a lot of chances that Rakitic is going to leave the club in summer. However, he has certainly created a solid impact.
Rakitic started to perform as soon as he stepped on the pitch. He seemed more agile and was looking hungry to get more and more playing minutes. Furthermore, Rakitic became the main component when pressing the opponent to regain possession. He started to win many balls and duels against his opponents. Furthermore, Rakitic showed more creativity. He made more over-lapping runs and was looking to be a technical midfielder as well as a lethal goal scorer. This is was the thing which was missing from his game and this is why I am so proud of him. Rakitic certainly delivered.
Furthermore, Rakitic also scored a winning goal for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao. Now, I do not want to go in detail about that goal and was it luck or his brilliance. I am just stating facts and stats. Barca won that game by only one goal and it was Rakitic who scored that. Furthermore, Raki played key roles in running errands in the midfield. He was always alert to get the ball and play it back to the correct person. Overall, Rakitic had an amazing time ever since football resumed and I think he deserves to be appreciated for that.
5: SERGIO ROBERTO
I think Roberto deserves a lot of appreciation as well. He is always used at different positions and it can be hard for a player to adapt to those conditions. He also lost his confirmed starting Right Back spot to Nelson Semedo which can also be challenging for him mentally. Roberto is often blamed for being uncreative and many critics rate him as a flop player when he operates from within the center of the park. However, I think Roberto showed improvements and came back stronger for us. We needed our seniors to shine and he did.
Roberto also stayed unfit for a week or two. However, he came back stronger and sent a message to everyone that there is still enough football left in him. Quique Setien also appreciated him in a press conference saying that he is a really versatile player who has a lot of ability to help Barcelona for quite some time to come. I think I agree with this statement from Quique Setien. I always say that football is a game of will and performances. A player shows his will and passion through his performances and I think Roberto definitely showed improvements.
4: NELSON SEMEDO
I think Semedo deserves a lot of praise as well. He cemented his name into the starting eleven of the team. It was never easy to replace a senior figure such as Sergio Roberto to make a name for yourself in the starting team. However, Semedo proved that he can be more lethal and that position and ended up being a definite starter for us. I think it is all because of his hard work and dedication. He also delivered some amazing performances for us. Therefore, I think he deserves to be a part of this list.
The biggest improvement in Semedo was his involvement in the attack. Semedo is a defender by his position. However, he is a full back and modern-day full-backs are no less than wingers. They have to move higher up on the pitch and drop-down accordingly as well. Semedo was blamed to be ineffective in attack and was criticized for not being Barcelona material due to that fact. However, look at how things changed after the lockdown. Semedo was really active in the final third of the pitch. He contributed a lot to the attack and overcame weaknesses.
I am not saying that Semedo improved his attacking abilities by 100%. However, little improvements at the pro-level also take a lot of hard work and dedication. Therefore, Semedo deserves a lot of respect. He started to link really well with his attack and started creating chances. His pace allows him to get to the ball before any defender. I remember that he did create great chances on several occasions for the team. One which is still fresh in my mind is that ball he played to Griezmann. Semedo’s pace, good ball control, and vision were prominent in that pass.
3: GERRARD PIQUE
Gerrard Pique makes it to the top 3 on this list. Pique had his critics including myself before the lockdown. However, I am not a proper critic. I am just a diehard fan who is emotionally attached to his team. I get really happy when my team wins and my players perform. Similarly, I get disappointed when my team loses. I expect a lot from my players and these expectations come naturally when you support a team for years. Therefore, I criticize and get angry with my players when they do not perform as I normally expect.
Pique looked really sluggish and out of form before the lockdown took place. He had coordination issues with Clement Lenglet and it was looking as if Barcelona desperately needs to replace him. We still need a young and energetic Center Back. However, Pique stunned everyone with his performances when football resumed. He silenced the haters and he proved at multiple occasions that he has Catalonia blood running inside his veins. Pique stood solid for us on several occasions and he leads his team from the back. He showed everyone why he is called the El Presidente of the Barcelona team.
Pique started regularly for us and despite his age, he showed great levels of fitness. Furthermore, he was always in positions where his team needed to be. One iconic moment from Pique was that he openly protested against the wrong referee decisions and he kept arguing with the referee even after the game was over. This shows that Pique is a true Catalan and he has the spirit of even dying for the FC Barcelona badge. I think this attitude and spirit is what wins everyone’s hearts. Certainly, Pique has his own significance in the hearts of every Barca fan.
2: RIQUI PUIG
Puig holds an importance in the heart of every Barcelona fan as well. He just came and made a huge name for himself with a single performance. Everything Puig does with the ball looks effortless and effective. Barcelona fans around the globe have fallen deeply in love with Puig and they never get tired watching him play. Puig is certainly living a dream life right now. I mean, who does not like appreciations and applauds? Puig currently seems to have zero haters and for the right reasons. He seems to bring life in our midfield every time.
Riqui is a fearless young player who is never afraid of running at oppositions. He also shows brilliant signs of fitness as he is always running around the park. However, it is not all about physicality with Puig. He has one of the most technical and tactical brains at the FC Barcelona team. He makes passes that normal players can never think of. This is due to his incredible vision and his world-class technical ability. Furthermore, his strong mentality is also visible by the fact that he never seems to be taking any pressure when playing with senior players.
Puig never stops even if he makes a mistake. If he misplaces a pass, he tries his best to recover the ball. This is the kind of attitude you look from your midfield players. Furthermore, Puig is always aware of where his players want him to be. He started his A team career by getting only a few minutes during the end of the game and in no time he confirmed his name into the starting lineups. He is also expected to play a lot in the CL fixtures. Puig is another La Masia talent that has surprised the entire world.
1: LIONEL MESSI
Who do you think about when we say the Number 1 player at FC Barcelona? I am sure that this question does not need a lot of thinking. Number 1 player at Barcelona in this season, in the previous season and for a long time has only been one guy. That player is Lionel Messi. Messi also makes it to the top of our current list. Ironically, this was Messi’s one of the worst seasons. He still managed to deliver for his team on a consistent basis. It is sad to see Messi making efforts all by himself.
Messi usually runs out of support and has to face all the criticism for his team not delivering up to the mark. However, none of this seems to stop him and he always is ready to do more for his team. Messi came back to football with a new look which gave a vibe of his 2015 season. He looked better with his fitness and agility. However, there were times when we saw him exhausted and angry. This is because he consistently started every game for Barcelona and got no rest. He did not score a lot of goals.
However, he kept providing assists. Messi also ended up with a Pichichi award which is great in order to provide a bit of appreciation for his efforts. I think Lionel has and is always going to be our best player. There is no one who can replace Lionel Messi at Barcelona. He knows that the fans desperately want him to perform in the CL. Lionel needs to make sure that he lives up to the expectations. I know it is a big task and is going to be really difficult. However, I believe that my king is going to deliver.
I think Barcelona as a team showed some strengths and weakness. We were not able to win the La Liga. However, the reason that not winning this title hurts a lot is because we had all the momentum. Barcelona was able to maintain its place at the number 1 position for a long time, yet somehow felt short against Real Madrid. I do not want to blame anyone or make accusations. All I am saying is that we need to focus on what is ahead and leave the past behind. Hopefully, we are going to perform well against Napoli and in the CL as whole.
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