Barcelona and the balance lost since Busquets’ goodbye | Soccer | Sports


Christensen, in Barcelona’s match against Athletic.Ion Alcoba Beitia (Getty Images)

Nobody doubts in Barcelona: Busquets was the balance of the team, from Guardiola’s time to Xavi’s. However, there was not a single person capable of shaking down the pivot’s decision to go to Inter Miami alongside Messi. And what, in principle, had been promoted as a sporting problem but also as an economic solution, only became a setback for Xavi. The coach did not obtain the promised compensation in the club’s accounts; Financial fair-play suffocates more each season: compared to 207 million for the Blaugrana, 727 for the whites.

Without Busquets, Barça had to improvise – a reference word in the current board of directors – the low-cost signing of Oriol Romeu for 3.5 million. “It was a question of fair-play,” they explain from the sports area. According to the same sources, in the analysis of last season’s squad, winner of the League and the Super Cup, three deficiencies were observed: a left winger, a right back and fundamentally a pivot to relieve Busquets. “Fair play is like a cake, if you eat part of that cake in an interior (Gündogan) and a center back (Iñigo Martínez), that you did not need, or rather that were not a priority, then you are left with less part to use in the positions that were key to strengthening the squad,” they conclude. That is to say, Xavi benefited from the arrival of two top players like Gündogan and Iñigo, but he was left without his most desired signing, Kimmich, even though he did not dislike Zubimendi.

From the outset, it seemed that Oriol Romeu fit into the Barcelona ecosystem. In the first 10 games of the season, the former Girona center participated in all of them, starting eight. Little by little, in any case, Romeu’s presence was diluted from the starting eleven. “It’s a trust problem,” the coaching staff said. “He had discomfort in his knee, but now he is perfect. He was never emotionally affected. He is a very strong guy. “He works on all aspects, physical and mental,” they contrast from the footballer’s entourage.

Barça, then, began to feel weak, without the defensive reliability that it had shown last season, when it kept a clean sheet 26 times. In the coaching staff and in the sports management they had the same thesis: the balance that Busquets provided is missing. A lack of balance that had worsened without Gavi (injured) and without collective work on all lines. Barça, for example, went from being the team that ran the most in the League to occupying sixth position in the current campaign. In the sports area, then, they had an idea: they suggested to the coach to use Christensen as a pivot. “Less fluidity in the game, but more positional. He can win second plays, get between the centre-backs and free Pedri, De Jong and Gündogan”, they explained in the sports management. A premise that Jordi Cruyff, Barcelona’s technical secretary until last summer, had already warned about.

With the presence of the Dane in the midfield, starter in the last six games (three wins and three draws), the team seemed to have found its lost balance. However, in the duel against Athletic, Barcelona was left without De Jong and Pedri, both injured. And now 21.00, DAZN). “There is not much to choose from in the middle of the field. Natural means we have Fermín, Gündogan and little else. We have to reinvent ourselves, like Christensen, who is doing it well. We can readapt Joao Félix, Raphinha…”, explained Xavi. In the waiting room he has Oriol Romeu, ready to recover his position. As long as the coach wants it, of course.

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