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Barcelona’s quiet men Christensen and Kessie deserve top billing for a change


FC Barcelona v Sevilla - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The term ‘unsung hero’ is sprinkled liberally these days, but it perfectly encompasses a couple of Barca players that aren’t often given the plaudits.

In this epic and potential title-winning run from Xavi’s Barcelona, it isn’t just the headline grabbers that have deserved to be pushed front and centre.

For every Barca player who sees his name in and on the various media platforms following a match as a matter of course, there have been less celebrated exponents that should also be mentioned in dispatches.

Take the blaugranes central defence.

Ronald Araujo has been a revelation this season and has rightly been praised at every opportunity.

It isn’t a stretch to suggest that on current form, he’s up there as one of the best centre-backs in the top five leagues.

But what about his partner-in-crime, Andreas Christensen?!

What. A. Signing.

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

The Danish international is everything you could ask for in a player that is at the coal face each week.

Absolutely nothing seems to faze him, and it’s no coincidence that Barcelona have only conceded seven goals with him partnering the young Uruguayan.

In first-half injury time, immediately before Araujo was chopped down by former Barca man, Ivan Rakitic, Christensen got in a tackle that was Swiss watch like in its precision, and vital to stop potential chance creation from the visitors.

Watch it back and drink it in.

Nine interceptions and over 90% of his passes completed on the night...

Only the bravest culer would now suggest that the likes of Eric Garcia should get the nod ahead of him at this stage.

In midfield, Franck Kessie has had his doubters, but with an early injury to Sergio Busquets to contend with, the combative Ivorian earned his stripes against the Andalusians.

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - LaLiga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Like Busi, a lot of his work goes unnoticed by the average fan, but not by his team-mates.

Some of his interceptions on Sunday night were also vital to retain the status quo.

More than that, his willingness to do the ‘dirty work,’ which is as essential as any other role on the pitch, helped to recycle possession on countless occasions.

Sevilla were ultra defensive on the night, but when they did counter, it was Kessie marshalling the centre of midfield to ensure any potential difficult moments were repelled.

His flick into Jordi Alba for the opener was sheer poetry too, and merely underscored a worthy performance.

When the medals are being handed out at season’s end, if it’s winners that Barca are picking up, then the likes of Christensen and Kessie will have deserved theirs just as much as their colleagues.

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