The awakening was rather mild in Spain this morning. On Wednesday evening, Luis Enrique’s troops kicked off their World Cup with a crushing 7-0 against Costa Rica. And this, while in the country of Cervantes, many had 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 against Germany on Sunday evening it will be a completely different story, and in Spain we are not giving up on fire. But this match reassured a lot. And in analyzes on television or on the radio, a question often arises: how to explain that Barca players are so efficient in selection when they are for some in the hard club?
An observation that does not date back to yesterday, since we have already seen the band of Busquets and Jordi Alba perform during the qualifying campaign for this 2022 World Cup 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 sensational example, he who is always indisputable in Luis Enrique’s eyes while in club, many want to see him in the cellar, and often seems overwhelmed on the ground when the opponent is quality. Similar scenario for the left wing, which has even lost its place to Alejandro Baldé, but which manages to do well when wearing the shirt of his national team. Two Barça managers in decline, much criticized weekend after weekend, but indisputable in the selection.
Barça’s golden youngsters have fun in the selection
Ferran Torres is also regularly chosen for his club performances, but the one who has already scored 15 goals in the selection is still dangerous on his right wing in the selection. If he is sometimes camaraderie because he has a romantic relationship with Luis Enrique’s daughter – which would explain his untouchable status – the Valencia-trained player is present at practically every match. Then come the Pedri and Gavi cases. It cannot be said that the two are bad at club level, or even mediocre, unlike the players mentioned above. Instead, 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 less important, and is sometimes more visible in defensive sequences than when it is necessary to attack.
He throws himself, but touches far fewer balls and sometimes we feel a little frustrated. In selection he is practically on the same level as Pedri in regards to the balls that pass between his feet, even if he is more in the percussion and in the placement between the lines than his teammate, rather leader. Clearly, he plays more free under Luis Enrique than with Xavi. For Pedri, the role is more or less 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 correspond more to his qualities and allow him to better exploit its view or pass quality. With his club he is often condemned to look for a winger, often attached to his line, while in the selection players such as Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres, Marco Asensio, or even Alvaro Morata and Ansu Fati when they are there chaining cross calls , swaps etc .
The context of the selection, more satisfying?
How to explain this contrast, enormous in some cases? Several Spanish analysts have started making suggestions. In the squad, the forwards are there to serve the midfielders, while at Barça it’s the other way around. This explains in particular why Gavi and Pedri are more influential with La Roja. Under Luis Enrique they are the fulcrum of the team and everything passes through their feet, while under Xavi the midfield is mostly about making the quick switch 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 exchanging a lot in front, which creates more imbalances in the opposing defence, where Barça are a little more “rigid” and stereotyped.
In the case of Busquets he is also a little more helped in his choice, as, like yesterday with Rodri, he often has a central defender who rises very high to the ground, which allows him not to have to go so low on the pitch, and play relatively high. As far as Jordi Alba is concerned, the selection context where full-backs play an important role in building the game also seems to be very advantageous for him, even if he also has some flaws in defensive sequences. It remains to be seen whether Ansu Fati or Eric Garcia, who are likely to have minutes during this World Cup, will also confirm this trend, while debutant Alejandro Baldé also left good sensations against Costa Rica.