The awakening was rather mild in Spain this morning. On Wednesday evening, Luis Enrique’s troops completed their World Cup with a bang, with a crushing 7-0 success against Costa Rica. And this, while in the country of Cervantes, had many doubts about the qualities of their coach and the level of his group. Of course, the Central American team is one of the weakest in the tournament and it will be a completely different story against Germany on Sunday evening, and in Spain, we do not give in to the fire. But this match reassured a lot. And in the analyzes on television or on the radio, a question often comes up: how to explain that Barça players are so efficient in selection when they are for some in the hard club?
A finding that does not date from yesterday, since we have already seen the band of Busquets and Jordi Alba perform during the qualifying campaign for this World Cup 2022 or in the League of Nations, while at the same time , some of these players were losing importance in the club. Busquets is also the most blatant example, he who is always indisputable in the eyes of Luis Enrique while in club, many want to see him in the cellar, and he often seems overwhelmed on the ground when the opposition is quality. Similar scenario for the left side, who even lost his place in favor of Alejandro Baldé, but who manages to perform well when he puts on his country’s jersey. Two Barça executives in decline, much criticized weekend after weekend, but indisputable in the selection.
The golden youth of Barça have fun in the selection
Ferran Torres is also regularly singled out for his club performances, but the one who has already scored 15 goals in selection is still dangerous on his right flank in selection. If he is sometimes chambered because he is in a sentimental relationship with the daughter of Luis Enrique – which explained his untouchable status – the player trained in Valencia responds to each missed match. Then come the Pedri and Gavi cases. We cannot say that the two are bad at club level, or even mediocre, unlike the players mentioned above. On the other hand, there is a Gavi at Barça, and another Gavi in selection. On the Camp Nou side, his role in the development of the game is the least important, and he is sometimes more visible on the defensive sequences that must be attacked.
He projects himself, but touches far fewer balls and we also sometimes feel a little frustrated. In selection, he proved to be at the same level as Pedri in terms of balls which pass through his feet, even if he is more in percussion and in placement between the lines than his teammate, who is rather a leader. Clearly, he plays more liberated under Luis Enrique than with Xavi. For Pedri, the role is supposed to be the same, but the player trained in Las Palmas also seems more comfortable in the selection configuration, in particular because the offensive animation in front of him seems to ask more of his qualities and allow him to better put worth his vista or pass quality. With his club, he is often condemned to look for a winger, often stuck to his line, while in selection, players like Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres, Marco Asensio, or even Alvaro Morata and Ansu Fati when they are there chain the cross calls, permutations etc.
The context of the selection, more fulfilling?
How to explain this contrast, huge in some cases? Several Spanish analysts have started to give leads. In selection, the attacking players are there to serve the midfielders, whereas at Barça, it is the opposite. This explains in particular why Gavi and Pedri are more influential with La Roja. Under Luis Enrique, they are the centerpiece of the team and everything goes through their feet, whereas with Xavi, the midfield serves above all to make the quick transition between defense and attack and these are the more advanced players who are stewards of the game. We can also add that the Iberian selection is generally less predictable, with players who swap a lot in front, which creates more imbalances in the rival defense, where Barça is a little more ” rigid” and stereotyped.
In the case of Busquets, he is also a little more helped in selection, insofar as, as was the case with Rodri yesterday, he often has a central defender who rises very high on the ground, which allows him not to not have to go so low on the pitch, and play relatively high. As for Jordi Alba, the selection context where the secondaries have an important role in the construction of the game also seems to be very beneficial for him, even if he also has some flaws in the defensive sequences. It remains to be seen whether Ansu Fati or Eric Garcia, who thought they had minutes during this World Cup, also confirm this trend, while the beginner Alejandro Baldé also left good feelings against Costa Rica.