Barcelona: Nélson Semedo shows tremendous improvement

VALENCIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 7: Nélson Semedo, defender of FC Barcelona with the ball during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at Mestalla Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Sanchez Martinez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 7: Nélson Semedo, defender of FC Barcelona with the ball during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at Mestalla Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Sanchez Martinez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Nélson Semedo’s recent resurgence could give Valverde selection headaches

Since Nélson Semedo joined Barcelona on a €30 million deal from Benfica, he has been in and out of the first-team, often losing out to Sergi Roberto. In his first season, he was very good up front but his pace failed to compensate for his defensive frailties.

The 24-year old Portuguese right-back didn’t start this season on a particularly bright note. He started the first two league games of the season, but Ernesto Valverde had to take him off at half-time in favour of Sergi Roberto.

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But since he was substituted at half-time against Real Sociedad, Nélson Semedo hasn’t looked back. His best performance of the season came in the 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao, and he also did well against Valencia, Girona and Tottenham.

Semedo has shown some brilliant dribbling skills this season, twisting and turning down the right flank while linking up with Lionel Messi. The young right-back has also linked up with his other teammates, and has greatly helped the team maintain possession under pressure.

While his aerial presence is negligible, Semedo’s crossing too has been very poor. But he could work on those areas. Nevertheless, Semedo is slowly starting to replicate the form that he showed at Benfica, which led Barcelona to sign him in the first place.

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Now, Ernesto Valverde may have something to think about. Sergi Roberto may have to be pushed up to midfield to cover for first-team players in light of the tight schedule. In that case, Nélson Semedo may be occupying a more important role in the first-team squad.