Barcelona are a club in crisis. They’ve endured a wretched season and, on Friday night, things came to a head with 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in Portugal. The La Liga giants will look to sell before they buy this summer as they look to navigate around a post-coronavirus transfer window. So Express Sport will now look at the only four players who should be exempt from being sold after the chastening night.
Let’s start with the obvious.
Lionel Messi has prompted mockery around the world, particularly from Cristiano Ronaldo fans, after toiling for Barcelona against Bayern.
But the brutal fact of the matter is that, though he’s 33 and approaching the twilight years of his career, Barcelona still rely on their talisman.
Messi needs the right support. He can’t do it on his own and the battering to Bayern Munich was proof of that.
He may well leave after the debacle but Messi staying still seems likely. He’ll want to get Barcelona back to the top of European football, having gone without the Champions League for the past five years.
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Frenkie De Jong
Frenkie de Jong was another who struggled against Bayern, with the Netherlands international overran in the centre of the field by Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka.
His first year at Barcelona hasn’t gone to plan following his arrival from Ajax back in the summer.
But everybody who has seen De Jong in action knows he’s got the potential to become the best midfielder on the planet.
Things haven’t worked out but Barcelona won’t cut the player loose, with De Jong seen the ideal heir to veteran Sergio Busquets.
Much improvement is needed, however, if he’s to justify the club’s faith in him.
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Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
If it wasn’t for Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Barcelona could have conceded 10 to Bayern on Friday night.
Chelsea would love to sign the Germany international but he’s another who will be going nowhere anytime soon.
Barcelona have always needed a reliable pair of hands at the back, regardless of what attacking options they have at their disposal.
And that’s why Ter Stegen will still be at the Nou Camp next term.
No Barcelona player stood out against Bayern.
But Ansu Fati was a shining light when he came off the bench and, at 17, has the potential to become one of the best attackers in world football.
Fati is still raw and learning. But his rapid pace caused Bayern some issues at the back and that speaks volume about his talent.
Manchester United and Real Madrid would both love to lure Fati away from Catalonia.
But, with the youngster having Messi’s backing, staying at Barcelona appears the most likely thing to happen.
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