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Performance of Barcelona’s quiet man Franck Kessie speaks volumes

Understated excellence from Il Presidente

FC Barcelona v Viktoria Plzen: Group C - UEFA Champions League Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

The sound of a Champions League night at Camp Nou - there really is nothing like it, and it was magnificent to witness the fervour and excitement as the teams took to the field on Wednesday night.

The raucousness of the atmosphere spoke of a fan base that genuinely believe the club are at the start of something special again.

Frank Kessie’s opener saw the decibels rise some more, with the former Milan star once again evidencing the sheer depth of quality that Xavi has across his squad this season.

Likely to be one of the more understated signings of the summer, I’m willing to hang my hat on the prediction that he will become one of the most important.

FC Barcelona v Viktoria Plzen: Group C - UEFA Champions League Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Robert Lewandowski is the undoubted star already as his sumptuous hat-trick proved, but there must always be a place in this squad for Franck Kessie.

His movement, playing style and appreciation of space isn’t too dissimilar to the likes of Yaya Toure, even if his countryman was ostensibly employed as a defensive midfielder during his time at the club.

There are no frills or fuss to Kessie’s natural game, but his mixture of brute physical strength and the ability to go box to box from first to last is a facet that Barca are likely to come to rely upon more heavily as the season progresses.

It’s also that difference that truly adds something extra to Xavi’s offering.

FC Barcelona v Viktoria Plzen: Group C - UEFA Champions League Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Whilst it may also be true that when all of Pedri, Gavi, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets are fit and/or not suspended, that Kessie may find it difficult to earn or keep a starting spot, that’s not necessarily a reflection on his abilities. Rather a preference from Xavi as to the general style of play which he prefers.

What Kessie’s presence does do of course is keep everyone else on their toes because Xavi has already shown this season that he is no respecter of reputations.

It took Gerard Pique until the second half of the match against Plzen to make his first appearance of the season, with Jordi Alba only faring slightly better in 2022/23.

With the season still in its infancy, it may be some time before culers come to understand and respect the job that Kessie does for his team-mates. Players who will already know his importance to their group.

An understated and unsung hero he may be, but make no mistake whatsoever, Franck Kessie will be a Barcelona hero nonetheless.

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