Barcelona finished the 2022-23 season with a 2-1 loss to Celta Vigo in the La Liga finale at Balaídos, which guaranteed safety for the Celeste in a match that Barça didn’t take seriously and deservedly lost thanks to an apathetic performance.
Here are the winners and losers from Sunday’s action.
Note: Applying the labels “winners” and “losers” is not intended to be a judgment on the talent or character of any of these players. It’s just a simple way to grade their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.
Ansu Fati: The Prince finishes his season as Barça’s second best scorer in La Liga and with three goals in his final two appearances, making a very strong case that he deserves a real chance to play big minutes next season. Xavi Hernández has been very non-committal in his comments about Ansu’s future and the club is prepared to sell Fati if a big offer arrives, but the talent and potential of this young man is clearly massive and the regret Barça will feel for giving up on him too soon will be immeasurable if goes on to shine in another team.
Pablo Torre: The young midfielder also made a case to play more minutes next season, and while he didn’t have any statistical impact on Sunday’s game he completely changed the dynamic and energy of Barça’s attack once he entered the pitch in the final 20 minutes. Torre’s skills in tiny spaces are hard to find, and he’s a very good fit in Xavi’s system. But the coach seems convinced the 20-year-old has to play somewhere else on loan next season, especially if Ilkay Gündogan and Lionel Messi arrive to play in Torre’s position. Maybe a move away is the right call, but it’s sad to see a player with so many obvious talents be overlooked so often this season.
Franck Kessie: Kessie getting more minutes than Pablo Torre over the course of the season has become inexplicable now that the campaign is over and we have plenty of film to look at. The Ivorian had a good stretch of games in February but his overall impact was extemely low for a player that was trusted so much in big moments, and even though he was a free transfer and will probably make the club some profit in the summer there is still not a lot of positives to take for what will likely be Kessie’s lone season at Camp Nou. The expectations for him weren’t too high to begin with, but he ended up having a bigger role than initially thought and couldn’t live up to the standards expected of a Barça midfielder.
Marcos Alonso: Alonso offered a glimpse of what he will be as Barça’s backup left-back next season, and I can confidently say I am not looking forward to it. His lack of pace is even more damaging at full-back, and former Barça winger Carles Pérez had a field day running at Alonso and causing all sorts of problems. He also decided not to make any sort of defensive effort in Gabri Veiga’s first goal of the match, and his passing and crossing — supposedly his best traits — were extremely below par. Yikes.