In the world of professional sports, and in a team as demanding as Barcelona, chances don't come around often. Therefore, it is not uncommon for a player that seemed like a great fit on paper, and an otherwise tremendously gifted athlete, to struggle to find a spot as a starter. That has basically been the plight this season for Aleix Vidal. Perhaps never touted as someone who could lock down the right flank as skillfully as Dani Alves, he was nevertheless a very attractive acquisition. A palliative more than a cure, still a player that could have proven essential. To all outward appearances, though, he seemed never to be on the good graces of the skipper. This might have all changed after a particularly good performance this weekend, as Lucho himself lauded Vidal on his performance. If Barcelona manage to salvage a tremendous right-back in this transfer window, without having purchased anyone, I for one will be extremely optimistic on our chances this season.
Another reason to be optimistic, and truly I say this neither with malice nor the intention of causing insult, is Real Madrid’s loss this weekend. They had a fantastic run, and I believe congratulations are in order. Nevertheless, their loss does benefit us some, and hopefully our squad is finally whipping up into shape. Yes, it is more likely Barcelona will defeat easier opposition, and that has been the case so far, but they have struggled to outperform the stouter teams. It is easy, therefore, for the team to play beautifully and yet leave us with many doubts as to whether they can replicate that astounding quality when it matters, frankly. I say this, though, at the risk of being rejected like a pariah: there is still a hefty haul of the season left, and more than enough chances for our rivals to stumble. But assuming it never happens, and Real Madrid has a perfect season henceforth, I truly wouldn’t mind losing the league title if it means we can conquer both the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. Losing the league is no guarantee of success in the other competitions, however.
Irish Goat’s Gamboling Goleadores!
1st Goleador: Lionel Messi
What a terrific way to start the year for the little genius. While it would have been exceedingly entertaining to see him continue his ridiculous streak of scoring free kicks, it was still an incredible performance. His passing is always impeccable, and there is no one, other than Iniesta, with the inhuman ability to see a play developing and playing the ball right at the most precise moment.
2nd Goleador: Luis Suárez
Since Luisito and Messi cannot share the top spot, he is therefore in the second spot of this rating of the top three goleadores. Make no mistake, however, as he is tied for best player in all but number. He scored twice, and provided terrific pressure for the entirety of the match. One can only hope this signifies the start of another terrific stretch of dominance by the MSN, as it seems all three are currently on top form.
3rd Goleador: Rafinha
Rafinha should be getting more minutes in the starting eleven. The question, then, becomes who do you bench? Not Iniesta, clearly, and Busquets is not easily substituted. Rakitić is already seeing lessened minutes, therefore it seems his position is the one most likely to see changes. If Denis and Gomes are already seeing minutes, it stands to reason that Rafinha should be top choice after his consistent run.
As always Visca Barça!