In the middle of the transition from the Luis Enrique era to the Valverde era, with a provisional team that will be finalised in the next few day, the team once again sought refuge in the one man who never lets them down, Leo Messi. Barça are going through a revolution, every match is a test of players, systems are being changed, positions are being invented but one thing remains the same: Leo Messi’s commitment and quality. He took Alavés apart, scoring twice and hitting the post, despite missing a penalty.
The advantage of carrying out experiments with Messi on the pitch is that there is almost no risk, because it’s scientifically proven that there will be a moment when the best player in the world appears decisively. Against Alavés, Valverde once again showed that he wants to balance the team towards the midfield and the starting eleven contained five central midfielders. The manager seemed to be seeking control over penetration and there seemed to be an obsession with having the ball, like in the old times.
Valverde’s teams seem to be very different to Luis Enrique’s idea of how Barça should play, although it is still early, there are players missing and he needs time to get his ideas across fully. The first person aware of this is Messi, who is capable of making things happen even in this team. He glides across the pitch with his standard intelligence to draw out the best of Iniesta’s magic, Sergi Roberto’s talent and Deulofeu’s ability to generate space. And although it’s not what he had a couple of months ago, it was enough for him to beat Alavés. Barça have always had Messidepedence, but now it’s extreme.