Don’t call it a comeback…
After a brief period of inactivity, Everything Barca is back and better than ever. So, to, are the team. After suffering through some of the darkest days in its history, FC Barcelona has had a summer to remember. A bold summer of intent and rebirth. There is new hope about the Camp Nou, the cleansing feeling of a fresh start. Welcome to the ground floor of something that could prove to be very spectacular indeed; Barcelona, back from the dead, out to reclaim its throne, restoring itself to the summit of LaLiga and its rightful place as European super power. It’s all going to be there; the swagger, the style, the damage. Now is a good time to climb aboard. Are you ready?
Then let’s begin.
It seems only right that we begin at the start, recounting a summer of wild activity. Xavi and the club have moved with purpsoe to acquire the pieces needed, and an array of exciting players that fit the mould of what Xavi wants the team to be. So, who are the new Barcelona players, and what do they bring to the team? Let’s get you up to speed.
Andreas Christensen; The 26 year old central defender was confirmed as the joint first Barca signing of the summer upon leaving Chelsea at the end of his contract this past May, finally becoming official on the 4th July. Signing a 4-year deal to bring him to the Camp Nou, the Danish international will hope to form an indomitable defense when paired with the rock, the heart of Barca’s defense, the outstanding Ronald Araujo. Calm in possession, accurate in his passing and dominant in the air, Christensen is often compared to the legendary Paolo Maldini. Arriving as a free transfer, if he goes on to achieve anything like the kind of success the great Italian did during his time with AC Milan, Barca will have pulled off a truly incredible coup.
Franck Kessie; Now this one I’m excited about. Fresh from driving AC Milan to its first Serie A title since 2010, midfield powerhouse Kessie was the other half of Barca’s confirmed double signing, arriving the same time as Christensen, also arriving on a free transfer. A great passer of the ball, the 25-year-old Ivorian has the potential to be the heart of Barca’s midfield for the next few years and will be integral to impressing the team’s dominance on its opponents. Able to play any position in the middle of the park, from defensive midfielder into a more central position, as an attacking threat or on either side, Kessie is as versatile as they come, a total midfielder. He can do it all. They call him The President for a reason. I can’t wait to see him in a Barcelona shirt.
Raphinha; Barca’s most recent signing, arriving from Leeds United just a few days ago for a fee that could eventually rise to over €64 million with add-ons. An intelligent decision maker and dynamic winger that definitely fits the mould of what Xavi is trying to do with the team, the 25-year-old Brazilian offers the Culers an extra attacking threat going forward, one who loves to cut inside from the right flank and shoot with his left foot. Born in the same town as Blaugranes legend Ronaldinho, Raphinha claims his compatriot as his footballing idol and aims to replicate not just his overall style of play, but also his success, upon his arrival at the Catalan giants.
And There’s More…
While not a new signing as such, it should be noted that the club have managed to retain the services of French winger Ousmane Dembélé this summer, signing him to a three-year contract extension that keeps him at the club until 2024. Having seemingly had one foot out of the door of the Camp Nou earlier this year, it’s amazing news that he has opted to stay. Like the club itself, the 25-year-old hit rock bottom before Xavi’s arrival, even being booed by the home fans for his apparent reluctance to commit his future to the club. Also like the club, however, he made a startling recovery, turning in breath taking performances for the team once Xavi took over, making himself integral to the turn around in fortunes the club underwent in the second half of last season. Frustrating at times, there’s no doubt the Frenchman has it in his grasp to be one of the best in the world. Sublime on the ball, he is a joy to watch when at his best, almost unplayable, and one can only hope that finally signing his new contract suggests that Barca will be getting a revitalised and motivated Dembélé going into the 2022/23 season. Certainly, the prospect of him marauding down the left flank while Raphinha dive bombs down the right is a mouth watering one indeed, one that hints at just how exciting this new Barcelona team might actually be.
And there we have it (so far, anyway – the club are said to have agreed a fee with Bayern Munich for world class striker and relentless goal machine Robert Lewandowski, something which will absolutely demand an article of its own when finally confirmed). Excited yet? I certainly am. ‘The Flame Lives On’ reads the message on the new FC Barcelona shirt. Here’s hoping it’s about to catch fire and explode violently into life, razing to the ground the misery of these past few years, ready to build something glorious and new.
‘My guide and I went into that hidden tunnel; . . . Where we came forth, and once more saw the stars.’
So says Dante Alighieri at the end of his descent into Hell.
We have suffered our Hell. It’s time to step out of the darkness and into the light.
It’s time to once again see stars.
Are you ready?
Visca el Barça.