The last time Barcelona won the Champions League, they did while also taking home the La Liga and Copa del Rey trophies. 2015 was a magical year, with a front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar at the absolute peak of their form together, a great midfield and a very strong defense. They also had squad depth, and Pedro Rodríguez was amazing as a backup to all three of the attacking superstars.
And the fact is Barça miss Pedro. A lot. And since Pedro left for Chelsea the club has been trying to find another one. Sandro Ramírez didn’t work. Paco Alcácer didn’t work, and now it’s Munir El Haddadi’s turn this season to try and serve as the striking option who can play all three positions, score a good number of goals and make sure that resting one of Messi, Suárez, Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembélé isn’t going to be a big deal.
Turns out it’s been a big deal. And now Messi has a broken arm, and Munir will see more minutes. And that’s not good news, because we need to seriously ask ourselves if Munir is good enough to play for Barcelona.
The short answer? Nope. The longer answer: his pace isn’t good enough, he doesn’t have enough skills, and he’s poor in front of goal. At the absolute top of world-class football, when your best attacker breaks his arm and is out for three weeks, you need someone better than Munir to replace him. It’s harsh, but it’s that simple.
The crazy thing is? Barça have other options! There’s Malcom, who had two crazy good seasons in France and was literally stolen from AS Roma, and Rafinha, who can play in multiple positions and is a more talented La Masia product than Munir.
So it’s up to Ernesto Valverde to just see it really quickly and make the decision. Messi is out right now, and there are a few giant games to play until he’s back that Munir just won’t be good enough to effect.
There are plenty of former Barcelona players who went on to have really nice careers elsewhere. They just weren’t good enough for Barça. And as unfortunate and sad as it is, Munir might just be one of them.
Bottom line is: just play Malcom already, Valverde. Please.