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Article Category >>>Football

FC Barcelona: Top 5 performers in Lionel Messi's absence

By Free Online Articles Editor       Nov 06, 2018



FC Barcelona: Top 5 performers in Lionel Messi

It was a huge blow to FC Barcelona when their talisman, Lionel Messi suffered a shocking injury recently. The Argentine was superb during a crucial LaLiga fixture against Sevilla on matchday 9, helping the Catalans to earn a brilliant 2-0 lead early in the game only to injure his arm in the 25th minute.

Although Barcelona went on to win the game 4-2 and returned to the top of the LaLiga table, their victory was met with mixed feelings as Messi was ruled out for 3 weeks after tests were carried out on his injured arm. 

 

With a couple of crucial matches ahead, Ernesto Valverde's men found themselves in a difficult situation as the Blaugrana have often found life very tough in the absence of their star man. 

Therefore, some football fans were waiting patiently to see how the LaLiga champions would cope with the challenge of playing in the absence of their playmaker while some were quick to predict they would find themselves in the same shoes as Real Madrid, following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure this summer.

However, 4 matches have been played without Lionel Messi and Barcelona have put all doubts to bed with their electrifying performances - recording 4 convincing victories in the absence of the Argentine which include a 5-1 humiliation of their arch-rivals Real Madrid and a vital 2-0 victory against Inter Milan in the Champions, as well as scoring a whopping 11 goals in the process. 

Below, we take a look at 5 incredible superstars who stood up in the absence of Leo and performed extraordinarily to help the Blaugrana achieve such incredible results:


#5. Clement Lenglet

The Frenchman put up a couple of decent performances at the heart of the defence

The Frenchman put up a couple of decent performances at the heart of the defence

When Clement Lenglet signed for Barcelona during the summer transfer window, many felt the move was a premature one for the French defender. But apart from refuting such claims during interviews, the Frenchman also took to the pitch to prove that his move to the Catalan capital wasn't a mistake - especially in the absence of the indispensable Messi.

With both Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen out injured, Barcelona found themselves in a delicate situation at the centre of the defence but Lenglet was there to bail them out, producing a couple of scintillating performances and surprising everyone with the way he quickly established himself in the team.

The defender impressed in all the matches he played during the absence of Messi, including high profile games against Real Madrid and Inter Milan as well as stepping up to score the winner against Cultural Leonesa to grant the Catalans a perfect start to their Copa Del Rey campaign this term.

 

 

#4. Ivan Rakitic

Rakitic was a real threat to opposition teams with his incredible long passes

Rakitic was a real threat to opposition teams with his incredible long passes

Croatian superstar Ivan Rakitic has been one of the most impressive performers at the Nou Camp ever since he joined Barcelona in the summer of 2014, and the absence of Messi only afforded him more opportunities to prove his incredible impact in the Catalan capital.

Featuring in Barcelona's midfield alongside Sergio Busquets and Arthur Melo, Rakitic was a great force to be reckoned with in the middle of the pitch and the former Sevilla midfielder contributed immensely to ensure that the Catalans did not suffer in the absence of their star player.

 

His amazing vision and incredible long passes were quite unmatchable, while he also helped in retaining possession and pressing the opposition players. He sent a wonderful distant pass to Jordi Alba in the build-up to Barcelona's opener in El Clásico that got football fans elated and he released the Spaniard with a similar effort to help the Blaugrana open their scoring against Rayo Vallecano last weekend.

 

 

#3. Arthur Melo

The Brazilian continued to impress even in the absence of Leo

The Brazilian continued to impress even in the absence of Leo

Perhaps the biggest revelation in the Barcelona camp so far this season, the rise of Brazilian starlet Arthur Melo has been one of the few developments that have kept the Blaugrana faithful entertained and excited in recent weeks.

The former Gremio midfielder was given his first start in Barcelona's UEFA Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur and he impressed so much that he has retained his place in the starting line up ever since the 4-2 victory over the Premier League side at Wembley. 

 

Arthur was one of the Barcelona superstars that stood up in the absence of their best player, helping the team to retain possession, controlling the tempo of the game from the middle of the pitch as well distributing short passes and helping to take the ball forward with his intelligent runs.

He contributed immensely both offensively and defensively, helping to introduce balance into the team and securing a decent atmosphere for his teammates to thrive.

 

 

#2. Jordi Alba

Alba was a constant threat to opposing defences on the left flank

Alba was a constant threat to opposing defences on the left flank

Such has been the performances of Spanish International Jordi Alba in recent weeks that many have continuously urged Spanish manager Luis Enrique to recall the Barcelona full-back into the La Roja team ahead of the upcoming International Break.

Jordi Alba is arguably the most impressive left-back in Europe at the moment and his pure class and incredible talent have been on a display during the few matches in which Barcelona have counted on him to produce magic in Messi's absence.

 

Alba has been quite unstoppable, tormenting opposition defences with his incredible pace, intelligent runs, decent link-up, and immense creativity as well as helping to produce rigidity at the back and neutralising opposition advancements, especially during counter-attacks.

In the absence of Messi, the Spanish player acted as the chief creator to the Barcelona attackers, creating decent chances for the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez to capitalise on while his great goal against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League further proves how influential he has been in recent weeks.

 

 

#1. Luis Suarez

The Uruguayan stepped up in time of need and carried the goalscoring responsibilities of the team

The Uruguayan stepped up in time of need and carried the goalscoring responsibilities of the team

 When Lionel Messi injured his arm during a 4-2 victory over Sevilla a few weeks ago, Barcelona needed another superstar to take on the goalscoring responsibilities in the absence of the Argentine maestro, and no one could have provided a better answer than Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.

The former Liverpool superstar has proved that he is still the man for the crucial moments, stepping up when it mattered most and helping to tear down opposing defences with his incredible finishing skills and killer instincts.

 

With Messi watching from the stands, Suarez fired Barcelona to 3 straight victories (omitting the Sevilla and Cultura Leonesa games), bagging an unbelievable 5 goals in the process which include a fantastic hat-trick against bitter rivals Real Madrid and a brilliant brace against Rayo Vallecano last weekend.

 

Honourable Mentions: Sergio Busquets, Marc André Ter Stegen, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique.

 

 

 

Source: [Sportskeeda]



  
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