Barcelona Mark 2- what to expect from Messi and the new signings this season

A terrible season without silverware followed a nasty August for Barcelona when the best player to ever play for them told the club he was leaving. Lionel Messi was THIS close to joining Manchester City, but he will stay with the club at least for one more season.

The change of heart is not, at this time, because of the love of the club but more to do with the fact that he doesn’t want to be dragged through the courts and possibly miss up to half a season as he career free falls into someone’s laptop. Instead he has made the U-turn, and Barcelona will breathe a sigh of relief. So of course will new coach Ronald Koeman who may well have been resigned to losing the Argentine a few weeks ago.

Many have said that the era of Barcelona is over, underlined even with Messi in the side when they were destroyed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Ivan Rakitic has rejoined Sevilla and Luis Suarez looks set to join either Juventus or PSG, either way Koeman has made it known that Suarez is not part of his plans. So it is all change at Barcelona, even with Messi staying, there is a new standing point for the player, who has mostly kept quiet, but his feelings are known now and he is demanding the best from the players on the pitch and the board on their leather seats.

Barcelona have been active in the transfer market and with Messi staying for now this is a boost to the club who have brought in some interesting players. The eye-catching transfer is Miralem Pjanic who comes from Juventus for 60m euros. Barca actually sold Arthur to Juventus for 72m euros, so that is almost like a swap deal.

Koeman has really identified the problem in Barcelona to be of the midfield and along with Pjanic has brought in Francisco Trincao from Braga for 31m euros. Pedri from Las Palmas who will probably see a lot of the bench is in the team for around 5m euros and Matheus Fernandes cost the club 7m euros from Palmeiras.

Also it is widely expected that another midfielder will be brought in that is Memphis Depay from Lyon. Depay had a good last season and has started well in Ligue 1 this season also. He has been tipped to join Barcelona for some time and it is understood that Lyon will not stop the player.

So for Barcelona at this moment it is all about fixing the midfield, maybe accusations of their demise have been exaggerated but then maybe they haven’t. Barcelona have been unlucky in recruitment in recent years, they have certainly splashed the cash only to see the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Phillipe Coutinho and Antonio Griezmann all come up empty. Can their luck change, Messi for one will be hoping so.

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Top La Liga Strikers in 2017/18 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)


Lionel Messi is a great player. There really isn’t anything new there of course – the Argentinian has long been heralded as one of the finest players on the planet for quite some time now, and is widely regarded as the biggest Argentina star since Diego Maradona. Plying his trade for Barcelona, of course, helps too. At the Catalan giants he finds himself surrounded by more of the highest quality players in the world, and combined they have all managed to win this season’s La Liga title by quite some distance. For all of Barcelona’s star power, however, it is Messi who has shone the brightest in the blue and red of Barca this term. Comparisons to rival Cristiano Ronaldo have seemed somewhat further removed this season, with Messi enjoying the much better campaign of the two, despite Ronaldo’s Real Madrid lifting their third consecutive Champions League trophy last weekend.

Messi was the biggest fantasy points scorer out of all the strikers in La Liga this season, and it is easy to see why. From his 36 appearances (of which he started 32 games) he has bagged 34 league goals as Barcelona went almost the entire season unbeaten, finally losing their first game in the penultimate match at Levante, a real thriller which ended 5-4 to the hosts. On top of his 34 goals, he provided 12 assists too, meaning he was directly involved in 46 of Barcelona’s 99 league goals – not far short of half. That just goes to show how instrumental he is, yet also reinforces that Barcelona are a squad of real depth and quality at the same time. His partnership with former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has blossomed over the last couple of years, and the arrival of Phillippe Coutinho – again from Liverpool – earlier this season has far from hindered Messi’s performances.

He did miss some game time towards the back end of the season, quite probably with one eye on this summer’s World Cup in Russia. That is one accolade Messi hasn’t quite been able to accomplish just yet, and though he has won an Olympic Gold Medal with Argentina in 2008 he is yet to really establish his stature on the international stage. He performs well for Argentina, make no mistake – 61 goals from 123 caps at the time of writing attest to that – but he has not been able to lift the World Cup trophy yet, and that is something that will be high on his priority list over the coming weeks.

Regardless of how things go in Russia, it seems certain that by August he will be taking to the Spanish fields once again, helping Barcelona defend their crown as Spain’s top club. If he can continue the kind of domestic form he has enjoyed this season, it would be difficult to convincingly argue against them managing just that once again 12 months from now.

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