clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Barcelona 2016-17 Season Grades: Fullbacks

New, comments

Dani Alves is missed

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Jordi Alba

Alba did not have a good season as he was dropped by Luis Enrique frequently, partly for tactical reasons. Alba is a good player, some say among the best left-backs in the world. So partly, it’s that the standard is high. He delivered on offense: he was a key player in creating assists, memorably Lionel Messi’s game winner in El Clasico vs. Real Madrid. His defending isn’t always the best, and the truth is that people expect him to be mature by now.

Grade: C

Sergi Roberto

Sergi did a mediocre job as an improvised right-back, but perhaps it’s harsh to judge him on those performances since it’s not his preferred position. Still, there was a feeling from some quarters before the season started that he was pretty good as a fullback, and that point of view is fading after a year of middling showings. As a midfielder, he seemed more comfortable, and scored a goal that will live in legend: the epic comeback goal against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League. So in context, it’s harsh, but let’s be real for a second. He didn’t perform as a right back. Maybe that’s on the coach and board for forcing him into that situation. Notably, both Alba and Roberto did create a lot of assists.

Grade: B-

Lucas Digne

Digne brings one word to mind: adequate. He’s not especially great, he didn’t have amazing moments, but he was OK. In defense, his height and steadiness is a welcome contrast to Alba. But on offense he offers a lot less compared to the squirrel. Neymar in particular has little faith in him and tended to avoid passing to him. Of course, that’s partly on Ney, but the fact that he inspired such low confidence is troubling. Still, Digne was bought as a backup and by that standard he passes.

Grade: B-

Aleix Vidal

A very, very frustrating season. Vidal didn’t look good at all at first, with Luis Enrique all but banishing him completely by midseason. Yet, he kept plugging along and finally got minutes, and in those games his performances were very assured, particularly in attack. With Vidal poised to capture the starting right-back berth, something terrible happened: he got injured and didn’t play until the very last minutes of the last game of the season. Now, hopefully, he’s back to his old self for next season.

Grade: Incomplete