Let us rewind the hands of time to late December. Football was in a different state, and FC Barcelona looked a different club at that time. Many Spanish and world news outlets labeled the state of Barcelona football club as a “crisis”. Who can blame them? Barcelona just lost to an under performing Real Societal squad, and was putting in sub par shifts every weekend for an entire month. Rumors were flying around the Catalan club. Rumors that club executives wanted new coach and Barcelona legend Luis Enrique’s head. More rumors from many newspapers that Messi was unsettled and unhappy at his childhood club. Surely, Barcelona was headed for a down spiral as they sat in 3rd place of La Liga table behind both Madrid clubs.
Fast forward to the present, oh have things changed in two months. FC Barcelona is riding an 11-win streak. In that run, the Catalans have knocked down 2nd place Atletico Madrid, and now sit just one point behind league leaders Real Madrid. Barcelona has advanced into the semi finals of the domestic cup competition, and look to make another trip to the final as they hold a two-goal advantage over pesky Villarreal. The newspapers sing a different song, and are paying close attention to the new and hungrier Barcelona.
All this success is a team effort. The defense is not as shaky as it was back in October when Real Madrid humiliated them. The Midfield has found balance with Andres Iniesta, new signee Ivan Rakitic, and Sergio Busquets being the main cast for Enrique’s show in the center of the park.
But, the biggest contributor to this resurgence falls in the Barcelona’s potent attack led by their star-studded trio. Last year, Real Madrid boasted the B.B.C. (Bale, Benzema, Cristiano) trio, and were leaving every opponent in their wake. They were unstoppable. Now the B.B.C. looks a little out of sync because of injuries and egos. Move over B.B.C. because Lionel Messi, the Brazilian wonder kid Neymar, and the hit man Luis Suarez are setting the tone as the best attacking trio in world football. The MSN (Messi, Suarez, and Neymar) trio have started to click. At first the trio seemed out of sync, they were not used to each other’s tendencies. Now, all three attackers are in double figures in goals scored. Luis Suarez has started to find his old Liverpool self again, while Messi has had a record breaking campaign (as usual), and Neymar has carried the form he had helping his country in the world cup of 2014. A dream scenario for the Catalans as Champions League football, and El Clasico against Real Madrid are all within the next two months.
Barcelona are used to setting their expectations high and face any opponent with confidence. But, with this form and swagger, it seems that only the elites of Europe can stop this outfit.
And that is the warning to everyone, Barcelona just started to click, imagine the capabilities of this squad at maximum form?