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    Wednesday, 26 July 2017

    5 reasons why Barcelona will be the team to rule next season

    Barcelona are one of the most successful clubs in footballing history. They’ve always had the best players in the world and have won everything football has to offer.
    Last season Barcelona were dumped out of the Champions League by Juventus and finished one point behind Real Madrid in the race for La Liga dominance. It was not a successful season for the Catalans, but the 2017/18 campaign offers a new path for success.
    Such a great club doesn’t have two poor consecutive seasons, so it’s inevitable that Blaugrana will return to the top of the summit next season.
    Here are 5 reasons why Barcelona will be the team to beat next season.
    05. They’re out for revenge
    In the 2016/17 campaign, the dynamic trio of MSN were toothless and Barca’s definitive brand of football was nowhere to be seen. Now the Catalan club have
    got 3 new signings, a new manager and new outlook on football.
    Barcelona will approach the 2017/18 campaign with vengeance, as they must prove themselves again to the world of football.  
    04. André Gomes now understands his role
    After one full season at the Camp Nou, André Gomes has experienced a wicked learning curve in Catalonia. Upon arrival, the 23-year old was hailed for his wizardry dribbling, exceptional pass selection, and astute positional awareness.
    However, in his first season at Barcelona, he failed to show any of these trademarks. In 29 Liga appearances, he only scored three goals and provided one assist.
    Such numbers will not be tolerated again and Gomes understands that. The gifted younger is now accustomed to the principles of attractive football at Barcelona and will fully mantle his place as the competent Xavi 
    03. New manager, new direction
    Luis Enrique may have won nine trophies in three seasons at Barcelona, but his reign was tarnished by his failure to topple Real Madrid in his last season. His public spat with Lionel Messi in 2016 also placed a dark cloud over his tenure.
    Now the Catalan giants have turned to the services of Ernesto Valverde, a man who’s not been at the forefront of football, but been amongst it. As a player, Valverde was part of the squad that won the European Cup Winners’ Cup plus he played under the iconic Johan Cruyff.
    As a manager, Ernesto Valverde has coached Espanyol, Villareal, Olympiakos, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao. In that time he’s managed 583 games and won 5 trophies. The 53-year old is best
    recognised for his defensive nature, the Spaniard focuses on his team’s defence before he proceeds to their attacking play.  
    02. Lionel Messi’s future is settled
    Throughout the entirety of last season, Lionel Messi’s future was a hot talking point of discussion. The Argentinean was rumoured
    to be leaving for the greener pastures of Paris Saint-Germain.
    The French giants reportedly offered the world’s 2nd best player a £500,000-a-week contract to join them in Ligue 1. The speculation undoubtedly had an effect on Messi’s productivity as he was only able to score 37 league goals and provide 9 assists, numbers well below his usual rate.
    However, on the 5th of July, one of the world’s most famous ever footballers put pen to paper on a new deal that will keep him at the club till 2021. The new contract has a buyout clause
    rumoured to be £264million. Now that Messi’s future is sorted, the 30-year old can focus on once again becoming the best player in the world and help restore Barcelona to their former glories.  
    01. They have a new right-back
    One of Barcelona's problems last season was their inability to field a competent right-back. Instead, Sergi Roberto was forced to occupy the position throughout the campaign and his uncomfortable performances in the position proved a point of exploitation for opponents.
    However, new manager Ernesto Valverde has identified that weakness and responded by signing 23-year old right-back Nélson Semedo from Benfica. The youngster possesses electric pace, aggression and
    skilful ball control and has been branded as the next Dani Alves, something Barcelona have missed ever since they sold him.

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