FC Barcelona 2011/12 Season in Review: Adriano Correia

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 14: Adriano of Barcelona runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Barcelona at BayArena on February 14, 2012 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Report: Adriano Correia again started the season as a backup at left back but exactly like last season saw his playing time increase because of numerous injuries to defenders. Most of Adriano's minutes came at left-back but he also saw time at the other side of the defensive line as well as on the wing - both the left and right side.

This season, large part of it at least, Adriano had the benefit of no competition at the left-back backup spot, as Maxwell was sold to Paris Saint-Germain. Adriano had some stretches of good football but one always had a feeling that Barcelona would be a much better team if Eric Abidal, or some other capable left-back, was playing there instead of the Brazilian.

Against lesser opponents Adriano was actually pretty good, rarely being outplayed by attackers, and he even managed to bag three goals against such teams. But against teams of a higher caliber you could clearly see his limitations. His positioning could be much better as he often "leans" to one side leaving the other one wide open. In attack he's no Dani Alves either but one has to admit his crosses are very accurate. He also showed that he has a powerful long range shot but he could use some work on the accuracy.

Adriano fared surprisingly well when given the left center-back role in a three man defense. His passing range and accuracy, he finished the season in the top 5 in passing percentage among Barça players with over 1000 passes, had a positive impact on the game.

Putting Adriano expected role - a backup - into consideration you just can't have a very negative opinion about him. Going into the season I had Adriano projected to make about 15-20 starts with about 10 more appearances as a substitute. When the season was over Adriano made thirty starts, almost as many as Gerard Pique and Abidal. For a player of Adriano's caliber that is, in my opinion, too much. Had he actually played only in "less important" games, giving a breather to Abidal or Alves, and settling for less minutes, he would've probably received a better grade than he will now.

SamCooper's View: For a side that is packed with world class midfielders, Adriano adapted to more of a defensive position in order to try and force his way into the team. Unfortunately for him it has been tough, Erić Abidal when fit had the left back position locked down. But due to Abidal's terrible illness Adriano has had more of a chance this season. Playing in 26 league games and scoring once, Adriano, disappointingly, didn't exactly set the world on fire this season. His most impressive game coming in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final where he netted twice as Barça won the title.

With the arrival of Jordi Aba, the future looks bleak for Adriano. In Guardiola's mind Adriano was seen as a reserve player and not a definite starter. But with Tito in charge, the Brazilian has a chance to impress the new head coach. I don't foresee a career defining season in the offing and the now 27 year old may be tempted to move else where this summer.

Moment of the Season: There is a clear winner here as Adriano had a career best game in the Semi-Finals of the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup. Adriano scored the first and second goal of what was a convincing 4-0 victory over the Qatari representative Al Sadd. First he made the defense (and the goalkeeper) pay for a "failure to communicate" and then he capped off a lovely team move.

Al-Sadd vs FC Barcelona 0-4 All Goals & Highlights (15.12.2011) Clubs World Cup Semi Final (via CristianoRonaldo7CF1)

Stats:

Appearances 40
Games started 30
Started on the bench 24
Substitute in 10
Substitute out 14
Minutes played 2703
Goals scored 3
Assists 9
Shots 29
Shots on goal 12
Fouls committed 22
Fouls suffered 27
Yellow cards 3
Red cards 0

Record with Adriano Correia in the starting lineup: 22-6-2

2012/13 Outlook: When Adriano joined Barcelona he was always viewed as a backup at multiple positions, and with the arrival of Jordi Alba he will be that backup again. Adriano will be behind Barça newest acquisition on the depth chart but will lose the primary backup spot at the right side of the defense to the newly promoted Martin Montoya. Adriano could also see some minutes at either wing. That, however, could all change if the club gets a lucrative enough offer and decide to cash in on the Brazilian.

Next Up: Maxwell, Martin Montoya, Andreu Fontas, Marc Bartra and Marc Muniesa

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