€60 million-rared Barcelona star shines with class in makeshift role against Atletico Madrid

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 03: Jules Kounde of FC Barcelona run with the ball during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on December 03, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Versatility is an asset that players of FC Barcelona are expected to possess and have a good grasp over. Xavi’s side is known for making tactical switch-ups quite often, and a lot of the coach’s fundamental tweaks require players to be deployed in positions that are not exactly their specialization.

However, players that are truly versatile without jeopardizing their quality can manage to be effective from anywhere. Several players within Barcelona have already showcased this, including the likes of Gavi, Frenkie De Jong, and Joao Cancelo.

Moreover, in the latest outing against Atletico Madrid, even Jules Kounde was sublime as a right-back. As highlighted by SPORT, despite his insistence on playing as a central defender, Kounde remains a reliable right-back.

In a recent press conference, Xavi even addressed this idea of whether or not Kounde and Ronald Araujo will continue to play as fullbacks:

“The problem will be for their national team coaches, as both Kounde and Araujo play as full-backs there. Here, they play as center-backs, although they may shift to the flank. There is no debate. I’ve had conversations. They adapt to the group. They are natural center-backs who can adjust to playing on the wing.”

The Frenchman, in terms of his influence, offered Barcelona a lot of things. He provided increased width alongside defensive cover on the flank, and his workrate would leave no one with any complaints.

He relentlessly attacked the Atletico goal and crafted quite a few decent chances for his forwards. For now, it remains unclear how often Xavi hopes to use this particular formula, however.

With Joao Cancelo also needing some rest from time to time, and Alejandro Balde awaiting his chance to shine once again, Kounde’s appearance as a fullback may be limited but simultaneously could be utilized often against stronger opponents.

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