What is the definition of a defender. The classic defender according to my limited knowledge has always been one
who intercepts,tackles and clears. FC Barcelona and their current team of world beaters, works differently. Our system works on a number of principles. An important part(or principle) of that system includes individuals with ball-handling skills who can interchange positions. For instance, how hard is it to imagine Gerard Pique playing a defensive midfield role? (a role he has played before). Something that defines the club and the team is the fact that we can start our play all the way from the back. This is our gift and at the same time, greatest source of worry.
Fact of the matter is, it isn't too hard to find a midfielder or forward with skills on the ball. Finding a defender with
such skills is a whole new issue. As our team's dynamics go, from my understanding, we need somebody with the perfect blend. One who is 70 per cent defender, 30 per cent midfielder. Somebody who is comfortable keeping possesion, under pressure, as opposed to the classic defender like John Terry who would clear the ball rather than risk holding onto it, so as to make a short pass. When in doubt, kick it with all you have got.
Our team, however, demands more from a defender. Let's look at our current central defenders, Pique and Carles Puyol. Both stars, in their own right, both different in many ways. Pique, commonly referred to as Piquenbauer, reminiscent of Franz Beckenbauer,is a defender who is capable of playing as a defensive midfielder. Like Beckenbauer was, he is comfortable on the ball, playing short and long passes.Puyol, however, is rightly known as the soul of this team. He isn't the most technical of players. He no longer has the pace. In many ways, in any other team, I would have said Puyol is just average. He isn't. Puyol is exactly what any team, worldwide, would want in their backline. He controls the defence(like Xavi can, with the midfield). Quotes from Pique are common where he claims that Puyol would continue screaming at everybody even if we were up by 5 goals. The significance of having such a player should never be understated if we are to keep winning.
How does a team replace a player like Puyol? Pique is young, at 24 years of age, he has another ten years of proffesional football(give or take). Puyol is 33, with his determination and character, we can hope for 2 years, at best. To replace a player of that stature is, simply put, impossible. We need to find somebody who is experienced at top level football. Somebody comfortable on the ball. Somebody who can lead. The multi-million dollar question, ofcourse is, does such a player exist?
In my opinion, the best option would be to play Eric Abidal,who is just as strong and experienced, as a centre back. At 31 years, we can safely assume he can play 2 years regularly. Puyol, having been injured, might not be a regular starter(it all depends on this season, we will have to wait and see). What we need is a left back. That way, we can give the defenders from La Masia enough time to develop and take over the centre back position. Enough time, so that Pique can inherit the throne and lead the defence for years.
As a fan of Barca, it's easy to see, without Puyol, the backline looks shaky at best and extremely nervous at it's worst. Pique needs a couple of years alongside an experienced defender to truly blossom. He can and will become the best defender of the decade. Unfortunately, as much as i like Adriano, I am not convinced, yet, that he can call the left back position his own, once Puyol retires. I have been proven wrong one too many times for comfort and I could be very wrong about this again.
In Pep Guardiola, we trust. As opposed to the general consensus that we need a defender this year? Stated above is my reason to disagree. I believe, Pep plans to play abidal as a centre back if Puyol isn't available and to give the responsibility of left back to Adriano furthering his progress as a player in the system, that is FC Barcelona. What do you guys think?