The challenges of Barça 2015/16 - The 1st year without Xavi in the midfield (III)

The step ahead of Iniesta and Busquets, the miscegenation of Rakitic and Arda Turan or the moments of Messi

The challenges of Barça 2015/16 - The 1st year without Xavi in the midfield (III)
The challenges of Barça 2015/16 - The 1st year without Xavi in the midfield (III)

The step ahead of Iniesta and Busquets, the miscegenation of Rakitic and Arda Turan or the moments of Messi

Xavi Messi

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The main piece of news in the midfield is that Xavi Hernández won't be there for the first time after 17 seasons. The Blaugran captain decided to put an end to an amazing era teaching Barcelona formula and becoming the best example of how a midfielder must play. Intelligence, tecnique, good position, goals, management of the spaces, control of the match and a great amount of more things.

It will be impossible to ferget Xavi and everyone will remember how he used to play. Iniesta is the natural successor in terms of experience and he will complete a midfield in which Busquets will have more importance. Arda Turan and Rakitic will bring versatility and Rafinha and Sergi Roberto will try to have a place. And don't forget that Leo Messi is playing in these space more than ever and everytime more on his evolution as a total soccer player.

Iniesta and Busquets' step forward

Last season, Xavi had a less important role in Barcelona's play, but he was the right player to calm the matches. Far from the stridency of the three indomitable, the verticality of Rakitic and the quick appearances of Jordi Alba; the team needed a dose of calm in certain times. Now, the responsibles of bringing pause and holding everything in a dangerous back and return are Iniesta and Busquets. The 2 are lovers of possession and must assume the role of knowing how to mature the games.

Iniesta played a season from less to more and needs to win more on regularity as the great leader of the midfield. He has a unique talent. Iniesta must now assume a new role within the team and be responsible for the gear of Barça's game. He will have the support of Sergio Busquets, the one who Xavi appointed as his natural replacement, and if the 2 know how to combine, the style Made In La Masia still has many years of life.

The miscegenation of Rakitic and Arda Turan

They haven't been formed at Barça, but the Croatian and the Turkish are the ideal complement to bring the style of the game that looks for Luis Enrique. No escape from the possession, for being more vertical. Without renouncing the class and be strong. Not stop passing and passing, running and running. Last season we saw a metamorphosis of Barça's game in the research of a new version that would make the team more imprevisble.

Rakitic adapted perfectly to the needs of Luis Enrique in midfield. He was the second forward in Sevilla, and become a box-to-box midfielder at Barça. In the same play was able to do a cover for Dani Alves and work at Messi's area, appear from second row to score an important goal. Arda arrives with the aim of providing an extra of quality to the offensive zone. He has a point of imbalance, holds the ball very well and can be the perfect partner in front of "the 3 cucumbers", as named Piqué. And his winning character ensures that the team will give the 100% in the more rough games of the calendar.

Rafinha and Sergi Roberto, meanwhile, are facing the last chance to show they can have a place at barça. The Brazilian wasn't as brilliant as we saw in Luis Enrique's Celta, and only showed his quality in specific times. The Catalan is no longer the midfielder that shone in the youth football and where he was the safest was as defensive midfielder. Now or never.

Messi's moments

When we thought we had seen the best version of Messi, the Argentine was in charge of dismantling the theory and showed a new evolution in his game. He was the leader in assists and Barça appearances in midfield were clearing many games against uncomfortable opponents. Passes to the space were a great invention to harness the great offensive potential and multiplied its threat when he was near the area. Shooting or assisting? The rival still doubts what Messi wants to do.

The tactical change of Luis Enrique, located Suárez as the 9 and Messi to the right meant the click to see the best Barça in recent times. The Argentine was seen more in the construction phases of the game, unlike before when he appeared to finish. We will have to see how Messi evolves because he's unpredictable, but we can't rule out that if he feels comfortable in controlling matches far from the area, that he finishes his career as the perfect disciple of Xavi.