It is no secret that Barcelona have been desperate to win the elusive UEFA Champions League trophy for quite some time. From signing high-profile players to giving exciting youth players a chance, it all seemed perfect last season until that horrendous second leg fixture at Anfield. This is a clear indication that as a team, Barcelona simply aren’t doing enough. Lionel Messi hasn’t won the Ballon d’Or for four years and the team hasn’t won a European trophy in the same timeframe, which speaks volumes about what the player and the team need to be crowned the best in Europe. Here are a few things Barcelona must do if they are to win the Champions League:
Buy a high quality left-back
Not having a quality back-up for Jordi Alba was one of the biggest miscalculations Barcelona made last season. Although Alba has cemented himself as one of the best left-backs in the world, he couldn’t get his required time for rest and recovery. A fact worth mentioning: he was not only instrumental in the Barcelona first XI but also in Spain’s World Cup and Nations League campaigns. Barcelona were really fortunate their left-back didn’t face a major injury setback. However, bringing in a quality left-back is crucial for the club if they are to play their strongest XI in all of the major matches next season.
Ensure the big-money signings deliver
Barcelona have signed a bunch of high-profile players after Neymar left for PSG. With expensive signings like Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele not quite hitting their potential last season, the upcoming season will prove to be tremendously critical for them. With Frenkie de Jong already wearing the Blaugrana crest and Antoine Griezmann having also joined the team, Barcelona must make sure their high-profile signings acquired specially for European success, deliver the goods.
Experiment a LOT in pre-season
Returning to 4-3-3 formation brought mixed results for the team last season. The team’s passing became more fluid, but the players found it more difficult to defend and looked vulnerable at the back. It’s apparent that the club need to work on the transition when they lose the ball. As of now, the only certain way to know what kind of transition suits the team is to experiment and this is where pre-season can benefit the Blaugranes. Besides giving starlets and fringe players important game time, Ernesto Valverde needs to tinker with his team in order to find the perfect set-up, because last year’s plan, although tactically superior to the best teams out there, just wasn’t good enough.