Joan Laporta, president of Barcelona, entered the King Fahd dressing room to congratulate the players after their honorable defeat against Madrid in the Super Cup. “Thanks to you, the culés We are more proud than ever to be from Barça because of the game you have played, for showing your face, for showing pride, courage and the ability to overcome”, said the Barça rector to encourage the team coached by Xavi Hernández. Laporta also had words for the coach: “That’s the way, mister, we just need to start winning”, he proclaimed to the coach, who, like the president, shares the feeling that Barça has returned and will be the team again triumphant of those times that both lived in the Camp Nou.
Xavi not only visualizes the matches very well, but also warns about how they can be lost without being able to find the remedy to beat Ancelotti’s team. Losses of the ball led to rapid Real Madrid transitions and the game was resolved in two counterattacks and a play by Benzema. Madrid is an open book while Barcelona still lacks outline and rigor to define the plan conceived by Xavi. Although there is an idea that is going around in the coach’s head, the proposal has not yet materialized on the pitch and the game is less reliable than Madrid’s.
The game changed depending on the players put into play by Xavi. Some affirmed themselves, especially Pedri and Ansu Fati, unprecedented until now with the Catalan coach, decisive to understand that Barça competed better than ever in recent times against Madrid. The team gathered around the ingenuity and creativity of the Tegueste midfielder and found the goal with the striker recovered from the injury suffered in Vigo. Both stood out in a team activated by Gavi’s intensity, Nico’s poise and Araujo’s charisma. The vitality of the youngsters contrasted with the irregularity of the veterans and with the difficulties of adaptation of foreign signings, manifested in Frenkie de Jong.
The Dutchman has ceased to be the leader of the project to become an innocuous and discussed player at the Camp Nou. Nor is it known what to expect from Memphis and instead Luuk de Jong does not stop scoring goals in a foreign court after being dismissed by the Camp Nou. The match also overwhelmed Alves and neither was it pleasant for Alba, despite the center tied at two, nor for Busquets, clumsy at 0-1. There are doubts about the role of Alba and Busquets. Both are international and, however, they are suspicious at Barça. Busquets was beaten by the match when his team was running and also in moments of stillness, a worrying circumstance if one takes into account the importance of the central midfielder at Barça. The position game has surprisingly faded with the arrival on the bench of a midfielder who sublimated the break as a footballer at the Camp Nou. The touch has lost prominence as a thread of the game, the pass is not so safe and the interiors no longer keep the ball but join more with the forwards and demand the defense, less protected by Ter Stegen.
The team is invited to attack, sometimes from unsynchronized pressure, and sometimes with four forwards and three backs marking the man, as seen at the start and end of the Riyadh derby. No player better symbolized the state of affairs than Araujo. The Uruguayan was a leader in his area, resolute in the melee and, on the other hand, had difficulties playing the ball, determined to connect with the wingers, the players on which Xavi’s offense rests. Barça lacked organization, fluidity and control and excelled in outburst, risk and adventure, embodied in Dembélé, more active than Ferran Torres, a player who is out of rhythm after leaving City and who hopes to know his fit in the team as well as Eric Garcia.
Xavi’s challenge is to channel the ambition of youth, also impatient and naive, and choose the wisest and most committed veterans, willing to follow the blind faith of their coach and president, optimistic after closing the gap with Madrid . The azulgrana found in his immolation, manifest because his proposal allowed the exhibition of the virtues of Madrid, a reason to get out of the limbo in which it has been since Messi’s departure. Those who rule and those who play shared the same mood in Riyadh. Now it is a matter of finding a solfeggio so that the individuals can improvise if the errors are corrected with the collective help prepared by Xavi.
No bossy team can get enough of Riyadh’s enthusiasm, self-esteem and rebelliousness. Although the jump in individual quality is undeniable and the players are beginning to be singled out for better or for worse, now the sense of team that Xavi is supposed to have prevails and Laporta announces.
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