One Barcelona star whose failure could decide the Napoli clash – report


Barcelona's Polish forward #09 Robert Lewandowski celebrates with teammates scoring his team's first goal during the Spanish league football match between RC Celta de Vigo and FC Barcelona at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on February 17, 2024.
Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images

A great test awaits FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League against Napoli. The Catalan giants are set to face off against their opponents from the Serie A to decide who will go on to the quarterfinals. However, before looking ahead, Barcelona need to direct their utmost focus towards the game itself.

Last time around in the first leg, both Barcelona and Napoli could not muster something more than a draw. Napoli’s Nigerian ace scored for his side, while Robert Lewandowski provided a sublime finish for Barcelona. However, the Pole’s job is far from over, as he will have to once again be at his best level.

According to Mundo Deportivo, it is Lewandowski who will have to be the main point of difference once again. While every Barcelona player needs to play their best football, the ability and positioning of the Pole will be instrumental in a structural sense as well.

Others like Ilkay Gundogan, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, and the rest will also need to be at their best. However, Lewandowski will be the most crucial piece of the puzzle if Barcelona truly want to disrupt the piece and formation of their opponents from Naples. As the leading spearhead of the team, he will need to receive the ball at his feet and open up space for his teammates.

In turn, that would allow Barcelona to exploit the spaces generated through Lamine Yamal as well as the other wingers and midfielders. Moreover, given Napoli’s frequent troubles with playing out from the back, Barcelona should look to pounce on that shortcoming. Juventus and other teams could not take on Napoli in recent clashes, but Barcelona aspires to do just that.

Moreover, given Napoli’s inclination to fight in the aerial spaces when attacking, Barça’s towering sentinels will need to win their duels as well. Whether it be Pau Cubarsi, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, or even Joao Cancelo, Napoli can not be allowed to generate space through physical superiority over Barcelona.

That is why, when the ball does go forward, Barça’s Polish ace will need to be at his very best to help Barcelona go through Napoli. The lines will likely be blocked at times by the close marking of Napoli, but that is where the true mettle of Barça’s playmaking and creativity will be tested.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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