Valverde, Messi, Iniesta, Ter Stegen … the names of a Barça champion

 Messi and Coutinho

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    FC Barcelona striker Leo Messi, congratulated by Coutinho after scoring the second goal against Dépor in Riazor.
     Lavandeira jr / EFE

After winning at Riazor this Sunday, FC Barcelona has risen as champion of LaLiga just one week after winning the Copa del Rey and at the expense of a Dépor that needed the three points not to descend and already has both feet in the Second Division.

It is the twenty-fifth League that Barça wins throughout its history (only surpassed by Real Madrid, with 33); the seventh in the last decade, and he has done so without losing any game: with 26 wins and 8 draws. If this continues the four matches that remain for the team – Real Madrid, Villarreal, Levante and Real Sociedad – will beat a record that nobody has achieved since the national championship has 38 days: finish the season without losing ]

League and Cup, a doublet that has several proper names as protagonists. Ter Stegen, Messi, Iniesta or Ernesto Valverde himself have been the architects of closing a season that, despite the chagrin of Champions and the millionaire signings (Dembélé and Coutinho) do not finish, has not finished bad for the Barca. We analyze the year of its big stars:

– Andrés Iniesta : We could not start with any other than the captain, who also announced this week that he will be leaving at the end of the season to a team from outside Europe, probably to China. Iniesta, despite his almost 34 years and the bad feelings with which he started the preseason as substitute, has returned to marvel with his game . When it is on the lawn it is noticeable and his match of the Cup final against Sevilla was a clear example of that. His effectiveness in the passes and in the recovery of the ball in the center of the field have been one of the keys of this double that, without a doubt, will sweeten his departure and complete his record with 31 titles with his team of a lifetime. [19659007] – Leo Messi : He is the best player in the world and has shown again this year. Pichichi with 32 goals in Liga, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (24) and Luis Suárez (23), not only scores goals, but also assists (he has 12). He completed his 400 matches in this competition in January (and 416) and, despite the departure of Neymar in summer, he has managed to find other allies on the pitch, such as Jordi Alba, who has closed the season in a spectacular state . The Argentine crack has been key in many of the victories of the team, with three hattrick (Espanyol, Leganés and Deportivo), four goals against Eibar or as many saviors as the one he scored against Sevilla to tie the match or the one he did to Atletico at the Camp Nou to get the win.

– Luis Suárez: It is another key to the culé front and another of Messi's great allies. When there is not one, there is the other and together they are an indestructible block for any rival. Barça have scored 87 goals throughout the season in the national competition and, between Uruguay and Argentina, they have more than half: 55. Although Neymar's departure could also have hurt him, Suárez has managed to adapt to the tactical variations of Valverde, both with a 4-3-3 and with a 4-4-2 and find the necessary holes to encourage his game on the counterattack. He arrived at Barça in the midst of a great cloud of criticism that he managed to dilute thanks to his talent.

– Sergio Busquets: He is doing one of his best seasons. His talent is indisputable despite the fact that it always seems unnoticed. Some define him as 'the Messi of the center of the field' and is that his power to recover the ball and his infallible passes have made him an unquestionable figure. This year, when he has not been injured, his absence has been noted. In the absence of Busquets, Barça has been weaker more uncontrolled. A clear example was the match that Barça played in Seville, which ended in a draw at 2 but with bad feelings. He has no real substitute and is also key in the selection.

– Gerard Piqué: Controversy after polemic have tarnished his great season. But Piqué is still one of the players who leaves his soul in the field: takes balls when they seem to be inside the goal defends with claw any attack play and even, if necessary, makes false front. And this season he has two goals, one in each derby against Espanyol: the last, key for his team to get a point from Cornellá. His is also part of the fault of Barça's unbeaten league.

Marc-André Ter Stegen : It is undoubtedly the great architect that Barça has not lost any games this season in League and be one of the teams with the fewest goals. It is also one of the best goalkeepers in the world : we have seen him making impossible stops (up to two penalties) and surely defending under the sticks. Compete with Oblak for Zamora, with only 21 conceded goals only three more than the athletic goalie. He is the undisputed holder in major competitions with Barça, but Cillesen (substitute and holder in Copa) has also signed good performances.

Ernesto Valverde : A breath of fresh air arrived but the preseason was a disaster and he began to question his capacity as coach of Barça. However, Valverde put the batteries and gave back the illusion to the culé fans. With a double in his first year and one of the worst squads that Barça has had, the Txingurri can be satisfied. He started the season without second team : the bench was scarce and the signings did not quite take off. He has the thorn in the Champions League, which will have to take it out next year.


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