Report: Ibrahim Afellay was the last signing FC Barcelona made in the 2010/11 season. Midfielder by trade, Ibrahim played exclusively as a winger with Barcelona. The position was not new to him, but before he made the move to Catalonia from PSV Eindhoven Afellay was more accustomed to playing in the midfield
Playing time was hard to come by for the young man, but Ibrahim didn't get lose focus. Whenever he was on the pitch he did his best, but not being used to the complicated Barca system it didn't always work out.
New arrivals to the Camp Nou always tend to struggle in the early going and Afellay was no exception. Ibrahim also had the problem of having an off-season to acquaint himself with "tiki-taka". But Guardiola clearly had an idea of what the Dutch international can bring to the table and it didn't take long for Afellay to leapfrog Jeffren Suarez on the depth chart.
As the second half of the season moved along Afellay played more and more. His appearances didn't usually come in most important matches, but with every minute he proved to Guardiola he can count on him. The reward for a fine season came in way of two goals and game changing assist against Real Madrid.
Moment of the season: With limited playing time Afellay didn't get many opportunities to get on the highlight reel. None of the two very nice goals he scored were as important as the appearance he made as a substitute in the first leg of the Champions League quarter final against Real Madrid. In that game Barcelona struggled to get anything going against Mourinho's defensive tactics. Afellay proved to be the catalyst Barcelona needed and his brilliant play on the right wing set up Lionel Messi for Barcelona's first goal. Barcelona won the game 0-2.
Ibrahim Afellay vs Real Madrid Away HD (via Zlatan265productions)
|Started on the bench||24
|Shots on goal||13
Record with Ibrahim Afellay in the starting lineup: 5-3-2
2011/12 Outlook: Entering his first full season Afellay will have to make due with bench player minutes. With Bojan Krkić and Jeffren set to leave Barcelona in the summer the majority of Afellay's playing time will come on the wing. However, he could also play some minutes in the midfield, but a regular place there will be extremely hard to find there as that position is already crowded.
Next up: Lionel Messi
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