Perhaps Barcelona's win over Levante on Sunday will mark a before and after in the future of the the club after the departure of Lionel Messi. In his previous spell in charge as president of the club, Joan Laporta had a superb group of youth team players coming through, including Messi. Now what he finds are unpaid bills and unaffordable payment commitments. But this is no surprise and shooting the piano player is not the solution.
Nico and Gavi start for Barcelona
I remember Ronald Koeman making Pedri and Ansu Fati starters, to freshen up that team, the one that Messi led, the one that conceded eight goals against Bayern Munich without showing any signs of coming back. Yesterday saw two youngsters play in midfield alongside veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets. Nico (19) and Gavi (17) are two young prospects coming into the first team. The team worked, from an attacking point of view, with Memphis always looking to carve something out. The afternoon was completed by the much applauded return of the club's new number 10, Ansu Fati, who scored a goal that the Camp Nou faithful will remember for many years to come.
It was a good time for Barcelona fans and their president to relax a little. The 3-0 defeat to Bayern, and the team's attitude, was a real blow. The draw at home to Granada was another disappointment. But between departures and injuries, so many players were missing that we even missed Martin Braithwaite. The injured players will return, the new wave looks promising, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembélé can make things happen, Memphis is magnificent, Pedri will be back just like Ansu Fati. It's not about putting Riqui Puig and Samuel Umtiti in just for the sake of it, it's about letting Koeman develop his plan and not to judge him at his lowest, when he had half his squad out injured.