Gerard Pique had yet another dominant season at the back for Barcelona. He could be Barcelona’s most important player who is not a forward (though Sergio Busquets should have something to say about that). When the team was falling apart, he was often the rock that kept the team together. I think, unfortunately, he’s underrated.
Umtiti came in from the French league, and we would have understood if it took him a while to get going. But the opposite was the case. He came to feel like a natural part of the starting XI, and even, actually, to feel like a top performer. He’s not world class - yet. But he’s on his way.
Mascherano scored his first goal ever in what could potentially be his last season at Barcelona. He had a good season but his limitations as a central defender are still there. Yet, his qualities while tackling and in his leadership are evident. The reality is these are his twilight years, but personally I’d be happy to keep having him, albeit now as a backup.
Mathieu was a weak link when Luis Enrique thought he was still a dependable player. This was perhaps just as much Lucho’s error as it was Mathieu’s fault. But the team arguably lost the Champions League and La Liga on the back of two poor showings from the Frenchman, one against Juventus and one against Malaga. Now it’s reductionist obviously to blame it all on him, but it sticks out a lot how he failed at such crucial moments. Luis Enrique never played him after that horrid half against Juve.
Marlon had only a couple of appearances, but he looked the part. There’s a lot of confidence in the youngster, and there’s a chance for him to have an expanded role some time soon.