The pressure of Barcelona | Sports

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Lewandowski, Raphimha and Christensen, during the presentation at the Gamper.
Lewandowski, Raphimha and Christensen, during the presentation at the Gamper.AFP7 via Europa Press (AFP7 via Europa Press)

The team of patience has entered the rush after wasting time: Barcelona needs to win the League. He had never been so many years away from the title since the 1998-1999 season; then there were six and now there are three, submitted by Atlético and Madrid. He has lost the game, he fought with the ball and was left without references due to the loss of Cruyff, the exhaustion of Guardiola and the departure of Messi.

Although the brand endures, the degradation of the model has been progressive to the extent that emblematic players such as Iniesta and Xavi have moved away. The Catalan midfielder has returned as a coach when the days remaining as a Barça player are counted revered footballers of the stature of Piqué and Busquets. They are not exactly good days for La Masia either.

Nico, Riqui Puig, Ilias and Abde played last November against Espanyol in Xavi’s debut as coach at the Camp Nou. Neither will be in the premiere against Rayo nor will they line up with Barça during the season. Nor are the three leading players expected in the opening match against Real last year: Braithwaite, Griezmann and Memphis.

Barça 2022-2023 is built on a footballer that Bayern did not want to renew: Lewandowski. No one doubts his scoring power or his lineup in Europe. The difference is that Nagelsmann’s project travels with Mané at a different speed than Xavi’s. Guardiola also started a new book at City with Haaland. Barça, however, needs a gunner from immediate performance as Lewandowski.

At almost 34 years old, the Bundesliga star striker was presented as the footballing lever of the Camp Nou. The aspiration is that he has the same effect as Ronaldinho at 25 and activates the virtuous circle of that team that conquered the Bernabéu in 2005 to be champion in Paris a year later. Lewandowski completes the album of stickers collected by Laporta.

Barça wanted contrasting players in the different lines for an exercise that does not admit grays: Koundé and Christensen should give consistency to a fragile defense, Raphinha and Lewandowski are supposed to improve an attack that has always lacked Messi’s goal, and Kessié will be asked to be Yaya Touré. It remains to be seen if Marcos Alonso and Bernardo Silva arrive while De Jong makes things very difficult for him to continue at the Camp Nou.

Increase competitiveness with a squad as wide and varied as Xavi requested. The azulgrana gain strength in the areas without losing style due to the presence of Pedri and Busquets in midfield and Dembélé and Raphinha in the wings waiting for Ansu. Although it is assumed that he will not give up possession or position, his football is expected to be faster and more vertical, and his hallmark will be pressure; squeeze the rival with the same oppression that the players and the coach feel for winning the League. Or with the same ambition as Laporta. It is not about making a team but that the president has given the team to the coach despite not having a euro. Now it remains to put the money and football.

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