Barcelona are a changed sight now. A club which was struggling to pay the wages of its players is now once again the biggest in world football. It was a brilliant transfer window for the Catalans as they conjured up some really important signings. It finally looks like the Catalans are back to their very best under coach Xavi. They have had a brilliant start to their season with just one loss coming against Bayern Munich. The Blaugranas have scored the most goals in La Liga and have also held the most clean sheets. As good as the attack is, the defense also seems to be very secure this time.
But the addition of new players has made life very difficult for the veterans. Jules Kounde has made a fantastic start to life at his new club Barcelona. He is now one of the first names on the team for Xavi. With Andreas Christensen and Eric Garcia also competing for their place, this has pushed club Legend Gerard Pique down the pecking order. One of the longest servants in the club’s history, Pique is now well past his prime. The lack of game time has made the 35-year-old very frustrated and this has increased tensions in the club.
As reports say, Pique was complaining about the lack of game time after the loss against Bayern Munich. Xavi heard what the centre-back was saying and stopped him before telling the veteran club captain something along the lines of: “And you are gonna play even less now.” It is no doubt that Pique is nothing but surplus to Xavi’s requirements now. The club is hoping that the CB will retire at the end of the season. There is a clause in his contract which says that he will retire at the end of the 22/23 season if he plays less than 35% of games. And as things stand, Gerard is looking to be on that path only.
A step took too late for Barcelona?
Veterans stepping back and youngsters stepping up, the scenes have changed with Xavi around. Frustration can be really seen on the faces of the Pique, Alba who are warming the bench this season. Xavi has trusted the likes of Christensen, and Garcia ahead of Pique. It is fair to say that the duo have not disappointed and have pleased Xavi so far. With Pique now 35, the veteran does not have the legs anymore to play every game.
The same is with Jordi Alba who is the third choice for Xavi. The 33-year-old is criticized a lot for his defending which has pushed him behind. Alex Balde and new signing Marcos Alonso are getting the minutes divided between themselves. This has surely left Alba frustrated but these bold actions pose a lot of questions. Were these the steps that should have been taken earlier by the club? The Roma Debacle, The Anfield horror were all signs that changes were needed. Sergio Busquets though seems set to leave the club next season. The good old days are truly gone!
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