Xavi’s Barcelona remain ‘cursed’ with one specific position – report

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

FC Barcelona is renowned for possessing some of the greatest talents in the world of football. Given their successful history and their dominant style of play, it comes as no surprise that many wish to dress up in Blaugrana colors. However, certain things exist beyond just initial wants.

To be dominant in this current modern footballing world, teams must have elite specialists. Many of the strongest sides in Europe at the moment are established due to their strengthened squads. Unfortunately for Barcelona, there remains one specific position where they continue to face issues.

Over the years, the right-back position at Barcelona has been one of inconsistency. Following the departure of Dani Alves, it has been rather difficult for Barcelona to find a capable replacement. In fact, it was the Brazilian himself who returned in 2021 to help the Catalans out.

Even now, as Javi Miguel points out, Barcelona are far from dealing with this particular problem. It is almost reflective of this statement that the only natural right-back that Barcelona have, Joao Cancelo, is also being utilized better as a left-back.

In fact, Cancelo’s presence at the right-back position has hardly been as effective as him on the left. Much more well-placed, and better in terms of attacking threat and creativity, he has overtaken Alejandro Balde as the starting left-back for Xavi.

On the other hand, it is a telling sign that a ‘rebel’ is being placed again at right-back. Jules Kounde, the French defender, is now once again being pushed to play as a fullback on the right flank of the defense.

The term ‘rebel’ applies to Kounde as he remains a player who explicitly told Xavi of his desire to not play as a fullback, as pointed out by Javi Miguel.

However, given his recent lapses as a central defender, Xavi became forced to make the decision. This ‘curse’ of still being unable to incorporate a definitive right-back is becoming more and more problematic for Barcelona.

Ultimately, Xavi has still managed to create a team that is able to perform well even with this deficiency. For now, the central channels of the defense remain occupied by Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen. Until certain players recover, Barcelona already have their defense sorted until 2024 kicks off.

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