BARCELONA IS LESS SCARY AFTER MESSI LEAVES
Barcelona held to draw by Athletic Bilbao in the second week of La Liga.
This La Liga season feels different after the departure of Lionel Messi from Barcelona. Barcelona's aura of might is not as scary as when the Argentine star was still on the team.
This was felt in the second week of La Liga 2021/22, Sunday (22/8/2021). Barcelona faced Athletic Bilbao and almost lost before finally reaching a 1-1 draw.
The game was tight from the start. However, both teams had a goal stalemate until the first half. Bilbao's Inigo Martinez scored a new goal in the 50th minute.
Barcelona got the score from a new striker Memphis Depay's goal in the 75th minute. Unfortunately, even with a world-class squad, Barcelona failed to get total points.
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Barcelona's struggle to get points must be paid for by the injury of the captain, Gerard Pique. Pique had to play 30 minutes before being substituted. Eric Garcia was also sent off at the end of the match.
Ronald Koeman, coach of Barcelona, directly admitted the presence of Lionel Messi was greatly missed in the Catalan team. In a press conference, Koeman continued to reveal the current irreversible condition.
"I don't like to talk about the same thing over and over again, but it's about the best player in the world. Our opponents were more afraid when Messi was here. For us, if the ball is passed to Messi, he rarely loses it," said Koeman after the game.
This draw, according to Koeman, is a pretty good result. Their performance at the start of the match was not so good, mainly because it was easy to lose the ball.
Bilbao managed to press Barcelona quite vigorously in the early matches. Made several times, the Barcelona goal was almost conceded.
"I think it's a fair result, because we had a chance to win, and Athletic also played at a high level. Playing like that, in such a difficult place, I can't be disappointed with the result," said Koeman.
Previously, the team with the nickname Blaugrana had already got a formula to play without Messi when they beat Real Sociedad 4-2 in the first week of the Spanish League.
Now the departure of Messi looks to have an impact on Barcelona's game. This is seen from the statistics of the match against Bilbao. Barcelona had 67 percent possession but only managed three shots on target from nine attempts.
Bilbao has better stats on the counter-attack, having recorded 15 shots on goal with seven on target.
Barcelona is now at the top of the La Liga standings by collecting four points from two matches. Barcelona is ahead on goal difference over Real Mallorca and Valencia, who are below them.
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The departure of Lionel Messi can be used better by Barcelona. For 17 years, the Argentine played and gave trophies. Now is the time for Barcelona to cultivate great talents in players to continue the tradition of winning.
For example, without Messi, Barcelona could reorganize the team's strength more quickly. The phrase “no player is greater than the club” needs to be a firebrand to prove their winning ability without Messi.
In addition, the departure of Messi can improve dependence on one particular player. This is to build a team that stays the same, has a collective consciousness as a winning team without depending on one individual.
Another positive side is, of course, the club's financial health which will get better. Messi's income at Barcelona reaches 141 million euros, spending about 110 percent of the club's income on player salaries. Little by little, Barcelona settle the debt it has, which is estimated at around one billion euros.
We are waiting for the results of Barcelona's struggle in the league this year. Hopefully, it remains a club that deserves to be reckoned with to win the title.
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