The Barcelona team of 2010 under Pep Guardiola will not only be remembered as a great time, but one that revolutionised football. It is surprising to know that the world witnessed this team in action only a few years ago. Sadly, this Barcelona team has fallen from its extraordinary heights. In fact, the team hit a low after finishing without a major trophy last season. Recognising the need to rebuild the squad immediately, Barcelona have made several changes in this summer transfer window.
The club has brought in five players including the £75 million capture of Luis Suarez. Andres Iniesta, though, still remains an important part of the Barcelona setup along with Lionel Messi. As both Carlos Puyol, who has already announced his exit, and Xavi are unlikely to stay at the club, the club will be naming a new captain. Iniesta has put forward his name and he says that he wants the club to return back to the top once again. Complete Betting, though, does not place Barcelona as favourites for both the La Liga, odds at 5/4, and the Champions League, odds at 5/1.
“For those of us who’ve been in the first team for a long time and come through the ranks at the club, captaining the first team is a lifelong dream,” said Iniesta.
Puyol’s exit has been expected for some time, but a few Barcelona fans have been left surprised by the departure of Cesc Fabregas. A bigger shock, however, may come with the exit of Xavi Hernandez. The midfielder has spent his entire career at the Catalan club, but he is widely expected to join New York City FC.
After the appointment of Luis Enrique, Barcelona would have been expected to bring back the possession-based football that was so rewarding under Guardiola. Yet, their decision to allow the likes of Fabregas and possibly Xavi leave may hint at a continuation of Gerardo Martino’s tactics – albeit with changes.
In many ways, though, it feels like a fresh start for the club. Iniesta says that there are a lot of similarities to 2008. Frank Rijkaard had just been sacked after a disappointing campaign. The likes of Ronaldinho and Deco had started performing poorly. Rather than look outside for a manager, Barcelona promoted their former captain Pep Guardiola from the B team. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, Barcelona have brought in another former captain in Enrique.
Barcelona last won the Champions League in 2012. They may have to work even harder this time around since there is a possibility of drawing with Liverpool in the group stages. Complete Betting backs Barcelona to draw with Liverpool in the group stages at 5/1.
Jeremy Mathieu is the latest arrival at the Camp Nou after joining the club for a reported £16 million. Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and Claudio Bravo are the other arrivals.