Even after overcoming so many problems, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde claims that Neymar’s departure was really a difficult moment for the club.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has led his team to the top of the La Liga table, after taking over the charge of the club when it had so many problems. But despite that, the club surely must have endured a difficult time this season when they got to witness the most expensive transfer ever. Neymar left Messi and Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fees of £198 Million in August. The Brazilian was once a part of the world’s deadliest attacking trio, along with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.
After his departure, some even believed that Barcelona might fail to qualify for the Champions League. Fast forward to now, Barcelona sits atop the La Liga table nine points ahead of Atletico Madrid. The way in which the Paris Saint-Germain lured the player away from the Camp Nou clearly suggests that how impotent the Catalan Giants were.
In an interview with Barcelona’s official website, Valverde said: “Neymar’s departure was a difficult moment for the club. We can’t deny that.”
Dembele had been hoping to kick-start his career in La Liga with Barcelona in a meeting against Madrid, but the Frenchmen missed out on it. The club’s record signing sustained an injury during his second match for the club and was sidelined for 3-4 months. But now, the Frenchmen is all set to return from the injury and the debate is that how will he fit into the squad and whether Barcelona needs to change strategy.
Valverde said: “We will assess things. We must take into account the positions occupied by both Leo (Messi) and Luis (Suarez). We have to adapt, but we know that Messi can play anywhere, we want to position him in a way where he spears our attacks.”
Gary Lineker: "If only Barça still had Neymar, they’d be comfortably clear at the top of La Liga…..oh wait a minute." pic.twitter.com/zPt8ifseGc
— FC Barcelona (@BarcaUniversal) December 23, 2017
Looking back at the highlights of 2017, the Barcelona boss said it was easy to focus on Clasico as it was the recent most achievement. He said: “We immediately think of the Clasico, it’s the most recent memory. As a group, we’ve lived through several key moments. The match at home against Juventus, the comeback against Getafe, they were a complicated team to face.”
Many of the January headlines will be around Philippe Coutinho and the Brazilian’s potential arrival in Catalonia, while on the other hand, Valverde is excited about Dembele’s return. Valverde said: “To be a Barcelona player, you have to have different characteristics. Dembele has to adapt, his injury was a difficult one, it was a big blow. He is young and talented; however, there may be some tension for him after such a big transfer.”
After Neymar’s departure, Barcelona has developed into a more balanced side, which has improved them defensively. Even Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi agreed that they’ve developed into a more balanced side. After Neymar’s departure and a poor preseason, it seems like the Spanish League would be a one-horse race. But now the scenario is entirely different, it’s too early to declare Barcelona as a winner, but Barcelona surely looks more structured and organized.
It surely must be quite difficult to cope up with the loss of the player, but now the scenario is entirely different and it is all in front of us.