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A Fan’s Perspective: This is not the Barcelona I fell in love with

Is the club starting to play for draws?

Juventus v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Barcelona put out an extremely defensive line-up against Juventus in their away leg in Turin. Despite the defensive XI, if there was any hope that the team would play attacking football, it was curbed by the tactics deployed by Ernesto Valverde.

There have been many hailing him as a pragmatist who managed to rest two key players in Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba. His defensive record is impressive and the team remains unbeaten. Why, then, was last night’s game the least Barcelona-like game I have seen in a while?

It might surprise some, but after nearly a decade of domination, for the first time, Barcelona stepped out on the pitch to play for a draw. A team that included Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez was set up to not win.

I would have been perfectly all right if this was some mid-table side or the Copa del Rey and the opposition was someone we could beat blind-folded. I would have loved a draw if there were B-teamers playing who could hold their own against the giants of European football. But a team full of starters? Why?

Oh, right! We already have the group sealed! Yes. We’re undefeated, and that’s always good.

But are we really okay with the team playing for a draw in Europe? Are we supposed to sit down in front of a TV and watch the team play a defensive game when it has the greatest of all time on the bench? I have no problem with resting Lionel Messi—he deserves it. But why not rest him when we are winning with a multiple-goal lead? Why let him play the full 90 in some matches and then rest him against one of best teams in Europe?

There are many who agree with the choices Ernesto Valverde makes. Unfortunately for me, I’m not one of them.

This is not the Barcelona I fell in love with.

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